The Los Angeles Clippers formally introduced Glenn “Doc” Rivers as their new head coach today at the team’s training facility in Playa Vista.
The Clippers team finalized the deal to bring Rivers from the Boston Celtics on Tuesday after weeks of negotiations that even Rivers said he’d begun to doubt.
“This was a strange ordeal,” said Rivers, who was dressed casually. “As you can see by my attire, I don’t have any suits because they’re all in Boston.”
Rivers had flown in from Orlando where he spends the NBA’s off-season.
He called his nine seasons as the Celtics’ head coach “an amazing ride” and thanked the team, President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, and its fans.
Turning to the task at hand with the Clippers, Rivers said it’s simple: to win championships.
“Quite honestly, at this point in my life, that’s the only reason I’m coaching,” said Rivers. “For us, we have to prove that we can win a series first and build from there.”
Gary Sacks, the Clippers Vice President of Basketball Operations, said the team believes Rivers is the “best coach in the NBA and perfect for this position.” Clippers President Andy Roeser added that Rivers is the “steady and seasoned hand” the team needs to achieve its goals.
The Boston Celtics will get a future first-round draft pick as part of the deal that brought Rivers to L.A.
“I don’t even understand what all the fuss is,” Roeser said. “It’s not even the first time we gave up a first round pick for Doc.”
Roeser was referring to 1991 when the Clippers traded to acquire Rivers from the Atlanta Hawks. In the 1991-92 season, the Clippers went to the playoffs for the first time since moving to the west coast. The team started out in Buffalo, New York.
Rivers said the Playa Vista training facility was the most obvious evidence of how much the team has changed since then.
“When I was playing for the Clips, every morning, we would wake up and call the trainer and ask where we’re practicing,” Rivers recalled. “Now we have this facility, we play in the Staples Center, we have players who want to play here. We’re bringing players in. We’re talking about winning.”
Rivers first order of business will be figuring out which players to bring in. The NBA draft begins on Thursday and free agency begins next week. In addition to head coach, he is also the Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations.