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Celtics court Rivers

Posted: Thursday, April 29, 2004

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Celtics are negotiating with former Orlando Magic coach Doc Rivers to become the team's next head coach, according to media reports.

The Celtics and Rivers were working on final details of a contract, the Boston Herald and The Boston Globe, citing anonymous sources, reported on their Web sites Wednesday.

''(Rivers) is a candidate,'' Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss told The Associated Press on Wednesday. ''Nothing has been signed. Nothing's been confirmed.''

Twiss said it would take time to notify candidates once a decision is made. ESPN.com reported Wednesday that the Celtics were expected to hold a news conference Thursday to introduce Rivers as coach.

Rivers' agent, Lonnie Cooper, and Celtics minority owner Bob Epstein did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge canceled a scheduled trip to Israel for the European Final Four to get the deal done, according to the Herald. Rivers went 171-168 in four-plus seasons with Orlando before being fired on Nov. 18, after the Magic started a league-worst 1-10. He was replaced by Johnny Davis.

The 42-year-old Rivers joined ABC Sports as an analyst two days after he was fired.

Rivers was the NBA coach of the year in 2000 after leading Orlando to a 41-41 record with four undrafted starters.

Rivers played 13 seasons for the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs before retiring in 1996 to become a TV analyst for Turner Sports.

The Celtics are looking for a replacement for interim coach John Carroll, who was dismissed on Monday. Carroll guided Boston to a 14-22 record and a playoff berth after taking over for Jim O'Brien, who resigned at midseason over disagreements with Ainge about the direction of the team.

The Celtics were swept out of the playoffs in four games by the Indiana Pacers.



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