Doc Rivers never planned to be a part of the Celtics’ rebuilding process, and the club was basically aware of that fact when he signed his latest contract, a source told the Herald yesterday.

That person further insisted the coach did not initiate the process that may yet send him to the Clippers for compensation, though that possibility seemed to be growing more distant last night.

The Celtics have stated consistently that they want Rivers to remain with them and that he has been discussing with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge how best to transition the team with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in their latter years.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Rivers was deciding between returning to the Celtics and stepping away from the game when the club asked him if he’d be interested in any of the coaching jobs that were opening around the league. Rivers was said to have no interest in the Nets, who had fired his friend Avery Johnson during the season.

He was then asked if the Clippers job appealed to him, and it was then he learned the Celts had already had preliminary discussions with that team on releasing Rivers from the last three years of his contract and thus making him available. The Celtics were looking to accelerate the reworking of their roster and seeing what return they could get on all their assets, Rivers included.

The club had also tried to work out a trade of players with the Clippers at the February deadline and were clearly interested in pursuing that again.

“At that point, this became a situation where both Doc and the Celtics were seeing if they could both get something they wanted out of this,” the source said.

He went on to add that Rivers was intrigued by the Clippers situation and authorized Ainge to try to make the best deal possible for the Celtics. During that process, Rivers had permission to see if he could reach a separate agreement with the Clippers.