2001 NBA Finals
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Magic sign Rivers to contract extension

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Posted: Friday April 20, 2001 6:50 PM
Updated: Friday April 20, 2001 8:30 PM

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Magic signed coach Doc Rivers to a contract extension through the 2004-05 season, ending growing speculation about his future.

Rivers, 39, was rewarded for guiding Orlando to a 43-39 record and a berth in the playoffs, all without All-Star Grant Hill -- one of two key offseason acquisitions. The Magic had eight new players this season.

While Rivers is pleased to have the extension, he is just as happy about no longer having to address questions regarding potential jobs with other franchises.

"When I was first asked about this contract early in the year, I didn't want it to be an issue and it became an issue everywhere we went where there was an opening," Rivers said. "I felt myself answering in Chicago or wherever more about the contract and me than I should have.

"I thought I should have been talking about my players. I don't really like focusing on me, so I'm glad this is over with and for now on we can talk about Tracy McGrady, Darrell Armstrong and all the other guys and we don't have to talk about me anymore. That's nice."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rivers, a 13-year NBA veteran, was named Orlando's fifth head coach on June 7, 1999, succeeding Chuck Daly, who retired. He leads a team that went through 55 transactions involving 51 players from June 14, 1999 to Aug. 15, 2000.

Orlando finished 41-41 in 1999-00, one game short of the playoffs. Rivers, who had four undrafted starters in his lineup, was named the NBA Coach of the Year.

Orlando general manager John Gabriel, who orchestrated those transactions, says Rivers was the "centerpiece of the plan."

"This year, he virtually adopts a new team again, loses his best player and somehow with his staff wills this group back into postseason play, which is just an incredible story," Gabriel said. "I've loved every moment of working with him and his players love playing for him and now we're both going to get to enjoy that for a long, long time."

Orlando opens its playoff series against Milwaukee on Sunday night.

 
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