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Danny Ainge refused Brooklyn Nets permission to talk with Doc Rivers

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN Boston reports the Nets did indeed approach Danny Ainge to ask his permission to speak with Doc Rivers about the Nets coaching vacancy but the Celtics GM turned them down. Rivers still has three years and $16 million left on his contract. Jackie MacMullen does not say if Rivers was interested in the Brooklyn job, but she seems to suggest Rivers isn't sure he wants to return to the Boston bench.

Reached late Thursday by ESPN, Ainge refused to comment on the Nets' interest in Rivers and reiterated that he expects him back on the Celtics' bench next season.

Peter Vecsey confirmed the news on Friday ... and lamented it.

The Celtics face several key decisions this summer and there's been speculation Rivers may not be interested in continuing.

"Well, I don't think anyone is looking forward to [rebuilding]," Rivers said when he signed his deal in 2011, "but I'm willing to do that. I've had a group that has been very loyal to me, and I think it would have been very easy to just run and go somewhere else and chase something else. ... I just don't think that's the right thing to do. Coaches talk about loyalty and team, and I just thought it was time to show it."

Once Phil Jackson turned down the Nets offer, Rivers became their top choice.