Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
After the Miami Heat eliminated his Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, could Doc Rivers return to the Orlando Magic as their next coach? The possibility excites some Orlando fans, many of whom have come to revere Rivers, who coached the Magic for four-plus seasons before a 1-10 start to the 2003/04 campaign ended his tenure.
Shortly after Miami's victory over Boston in Game Seven, StayDwight.com posted a message on its Facebook page, an "inside scoop," saying Rivers would become the Magic's new GM.
As exciting as the possibility of Rivers coaching or managing the Magic seems to be, it's also terribly remote for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the contract extension he signed with Boston in May 2011.
Rivers just completed the first year of five under his new deal, which pays him $7 million annually, the highest coaching salary in all the league. Even if Rivers wanted out of Boston--and, though I don't know him, I don't get the impression he's the sort of man who backs out of his commitments--there's no guarantee at all the Celtics would allow him to leave without having him sign a non-compete clause in order to prevent him latching on with another organization.
That's the Boston side of the equation. There's also Orlando's to consider. The Magic are nearing a decision on whom they'll hire as their next GM, with a coaching hire to follow. They never asked for permission to interview Rivers, and to seek that permission now would be most unusual because CEO Alex Martins has already completed one round of interviews.
There's no question Rivers could help change the culture in Orlando, whether from the front office or the sidelines, and his ability to manage the Celtics' future Hall-of-Famers over the last five seasons has cemented his status as one of his era's great coaches. But there's simply no chance he'll have the opportunity to right the Magic's ship.