Championship nets Rivers new deal

The Vertical
Yahoo! Sports

After winning the NBA championship, Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics have reached agreement on a contract extension through the 2010-2011 season, a league source familiar with the deal told Yahoo! Sports.

The contract has not been signed, but Celtics officials and Rivers’ agent, Lonnie Cooper, are in the process of finishing up the paperwork, the source said.

When reached by text message later Tuesday, Rivers confirmed to Yahoo! Sports that he had recently come to terms but didn't want to make “a big deal about it.”

After an emotional year in which Rivers lost his father, Grady, in November, there had been some concern that he might consider leaving coaching for a return to television. With approximately $5.5 million a season in the new deal – and postseason incentive clauses that could drive his annual total to $7 million – to go with a chance to win more titles, Rivers never seriously considered walking away.

The Celtics won 66 regular-season games last season on the way to the Eastern Conference title and a six-game NBA Finals victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Rivers did a fantastic job incorporating two stars, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, with Finals MVP Paul Pierce. Under Rivers’ watch, the Celtics also have successfully developed young players, including Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Leon Powe.

What’s more, Rivers’ willingness to allow a new top assistant, Tom Thibodeau, to oversee the Celtics’ defense, helped propel Boston to its 17th title.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge absorbed significant criticism for keeping Rivers after a 24-58 season in ’06-07, but was determined to give Rivers a significant upgrade of talent before ultimately judging him. Rivers was runner-up to the New Orleans Hornets’ Byron Scott for Coach of the Year. He’s 168-160 in five seasons with the Celtics and 339-328 in nine NBA coaching seasons.

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