Doc Rivers finally made the decision to leave his coaching position with the Boston Celtics to become the new head coach and senior VP of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Following the Celtics’ recent first round playoff exit, it became clear that the firmness usually backing Rivers’ defense of his team and position began to waver.
The question for heart-broken Celtics fans is this: Can you blame him?
Although Rivers had three years remaining on his contract in Boston, it seems the looming rebuilding project that is the present-day Boston Celtics appeared to be too daunting for the 51 year old coaching veteran.
As trade rumors surround the 37 year-old Kevin Garnett and the 35 year-old Paul Pierce, even the most die-hard of Celtics fans must come to terms with the bleakness that surrounds the C’s immediate future.
Especially in an ever-improving Eastern Conference including up and coming teams like the Pacers and Bulls, as well as the two time defending champion Miami Heat.
The Clippers on the other hand, who only gave up a first round pick in the 2015 draft for the sure-fire Hall of Fame coach, are a team on the rise as superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin continue to steal the spotlight from their Staples Center roommates in purple and gold.
Rivers makes the young, inexperienced Clippers a team destined for Western Conference supremacy, giving them the leadership and know-how to put the Clippers over the top.
With all that being said, Boston is a city embodied by a sense of pride, tradition, and loyalty.
It is what has kept players like Paul Pierce in the city for his entire 15 year career, and what brought Kevin Garnett and former Celtic Ray Allen to the team for their championship run during the ’07-’08 season.
Rivers also embraced the rich history associated with the Celtics franchise, as well as the culture of the Boston city and their fans.
His decision to leave the team when they arguably need his leadership most, will not sit well with fans.
Now that the Celtics are without a head coach and have a starting line-up full of question marks, Boston appears destined to return to the lack-luster days of inconsistency that persisted throughout the pre-“Big Three” era.
The fate of the Celtics’ future will now lie heavily on the shoulders of point guard Rajon Rondo, whose return from last season’s ACL injury is still uncertain.
The four time all-star will have to prove that he can be the centerpiece of the Celtics’ rebuilding efforts in the coming years.
While his leadership abilities cannot be denied, Rondo’s attitude has come into question throughout his time in Boston.
It will be interesting to see if Rondo can exhibit the same leadership qualities if his veteran running mates are not in a Celtic uniform at the start of next year.
It is unlikely that the fiery Rondo will be able to handle a struggling franchise for long with the same grace that Paul Pierce had throughout the past decade in Boston.
With young returning talent in Jeff Green and Avery Bradley, the Celtics have pieces in place that could keep them in Eastern Conference playoff contention.
Rivers however, is leaving very large shoes to fill in Boston, as well as GM and long-time friend Danny Ainge scrambling to fill his recent head coaching vacancy.
This summer will reveal whether the Boston Celtics will look to get one more run out of their current aging roster, or clean house and head in a totally different direction.
While uncertainty surrounds the historic Celtics franchise, one thing is definite in Boston:
There are now two teams to hate in L.A.