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Report: Celtics, Clippers talking again, considering alternatives to Eric Bledsoe 06.17.13 at 1:04 pm ET
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Trade talks between the Celtics and Clippers, which reportedly were put on hold over the weekend, resumed again Monday, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reportedly has been holding out for the Clippers to include guard Eric Bledsoe along with center DeAndre Jordan and a first-round draft pick in a deal that would send Kevin Garnett and coach Doc Rivers to Los Angeles, but Wojnarowski writes that the teams are discussing alternatives to Bledsoe.

There also has been speculation that Rivers would find it difficult to return to Boston now, with one league executive telling Yahoo!: “There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle. You can’t pretend this didn’t happen and just go back to work.”

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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘A 50-50 shot’ Doc Rivers ends up with Clippers at 10:24 am ET
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Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

Basketball analyst and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning, and he was unsure about whether or not a deal involving Celtics coach Doc Rivers and the Clippers would get done.

With Rivers still under contract for three more years, there are potentially a lot of moving pieces in such a trade. But fortunately for the Celtics, president Danny Ainge has a ton of leverage in the negotiations.

Still, Smith pegged the chances of a trade actually going through at just 50 percent.

“Ultimately, all the cards are being held by Danny Ainge,” Smith said. “It’s a 50-50 shot either a deal gets done or Doc Rivers stays in Boston. I don’t think Doc Rivers will sit out for the year, then do television and all this other stuff. I think he’s going to stay and coach in Boston this year, or he’ll move on because Danny Ainge will see an opportunity to get young and to get a box-office attraction to some degree, if not Blake Griffin, then some quality young guys you can build around.

“Clearly, you have to go in that direction [getting younger]. If you’re Danny Ainge, it’s going to be a deal you want to make because you’re an older squad now, and it’s time to move in a different direction. Doc is the one hot commodity that he has. [Kevin Garnett] is 37. Paul Pierce is an aging 35. They’re not what they used to be, even though they can still contribute to a championship situation.

“They’re not the guys to build around anymore, and if you’re Danny Ainge you know this better than anybody. As a result, it will behoove him to get a deal done. And Doc Rivers is the one piece you have that’s an ace. You have to maximize it.”

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Doc Rivers on Celtics return: ‘I’d rather not say’ 06.10.13 at 10:49 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

Pressed by The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn on his looming decision about returning to the Celtics bench for a 10th season, Doc Rivers wrote in a text message over the weekend, “I’d rather not say.

Last month, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told The Globe Rivers would return for the third season of a five-year, $35 million contract, but Rivers is yet to confirm Ainge’s statement.

Meanwhile, Rivers continues to oversee pre-draft workouts in Waltham and work with Ainge on the team’s offseason. Still, five weeks after telling reporters in the aftermath of a Game 6 loss to the Knicks, “I’m coming back until I say I’m not,” Rivers’ unwillingness to confirm his return has led to rampant speculation.

Is this tied to the June 30 decision on Paul Pierce‘s contract? Or Kevin Garnett‘s own looming decision? Would Rivers really hold the Celtics hostage as big-name coaches find work elsewhere? All valid questions.

Asked if he would address his future in the coming weeks, Rivers told Washburn only, “Soon.”

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Michael Carter-Williams: Playing for Celtics ‘would be a blessing’ 05.28.13 at 9:05 pm ET
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Michael Carter-Williams

Michael Carter-Williams

Even the most trusted experts can’t agree on where Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams will go in next month’s NBA draft. While many forecast the Hamilton, Mass., native as a top-10 pick, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford slotted him to the Celtics at No. 16 as recently as three weeks ago.

“I don’t really pay attention to any of the mock drafts,” Carter-Williams told WEEI.com’s Ben Rohrbach on his Green Street podcast. “At the end of the day, they’re all pretty much wrong anyway.”

That’s why the point guard was caught off guard when the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett asked him at this month’s NBA scouting combine about playing for the Boston team he grew up rooting for on the North Shore.

“I kind of want to get away and play somewhere else,” he told Bulpett.

Given some time to mull the possibility of playing for his hometown C’s, Carter-Williams sang a different tune on Rohrbach’s podcast this week.

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Report: Nets denied permission to speak to Doc Rivers 05.24.13 at 7:02 am ET
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Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers

The Nets asked to speak with Doc Rivers about their coaching vacancy but were denied by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, according to an ESPN report by Jackie MacMullan.

Ainge has said that he expects Rivers to return to Boston next season. Rivers has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract as part of an extension he signed two years ago this week.

“Doc has told me he’s coming back,” Ainge told ESPN Thursday. “I talk to him almost every day about our team and what we are going to do moving forward.”

Ainge would not comment directly about the Nets’ interest, but he acknowledged Rivers is highly regarded around the league.

“We know people want Doc,” Ainge told ESPN. “We know people want [Rajon Rondo] and [Kevin Garnett] and Paul Pierce. They are the Celtics. They’ve all had great success.”

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Kevin Garnett’s future determines Celtics’ ability to be competitive next few seasons 05.10.13 at 10:27 am ET
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If next season’s Celtics team does not start Kevin Garnett at power forward, prepare for a long, dark stretch. Without KG patrolling the middle in green and white, feel free to reintroduce yourself to the lottery, long losing streaks and the empty promise of rebuilding.

Doc Rivers bids farewell to Kevin Garnett in Game 6 but will it be the last time they're together? (AP)

If Kevin Garnett walks away from the Celtics following their first-round playoff loss to the Knicks, it’s going to mark the beginning of a long rebuilding era for the team. (AP)

While you miss the scowls, intensity and blocked shots after the whistle, remember that the decline of the Celtics is more complex than the team simply aging. The major problem is the Celtics actually ask Garnett to do more now than they did during the NBA finals run in 2010. Despite his age (37 on May 19) and contract (2 years, $24.3 million), Garnett still is a premier power forward and a critical piece for a team chasing a championship.

“Back in Minnesota, Kevin used to say, ‘I want to live beyond my contract,’ ” new Timberwolves president (and former coach) Flip Saunders told WEEI.com. “That meant whatever he was getting paid, whenever someone would see him in a game or in a practice, he wanted to live up to that contract and then play beyond that.”

Garnett has done exactly that in his six seasons in Boston. His playoff averages (35 minutes, 12.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, his highest playoff average since 2004) against the Knicks also demonstrated that quality basketball remains afloat in his veins. Surrounded by the right players, Garnett still can help Boston contend for a championship. After watching Garnett for 18 seasons, Kevin McHale — who drafted Garnett in Minnesota with the No. 5 pick in 1995 — still is amazed by his former student. Garnett was the first player in 20 years to go directly to the NBA from high school, and McHale recently reminisced about Garnett’s rookie training camp in Minnesota, when the 19-year-old was only a couple of months removed from his senior prom.

“I loved the kid the first day of practice,” McHale said. “He laid on the floor after his first training camp — laying on the ground with nothing left — and I said, ‘We’ve got to go again tonight.’ He went, ‘Huh?’ I said we did two-a-days, and he was like, ‘Oh my.’

“But that night he came and he laid it on the ground, played on the line, laying on the ground, playing on the line. At the end, he was laying on the ground, and I said to him, ‘Now we do two again tomorrow.’ He looked up at me and said, ‘Man, this is going to be a job.’ He hasn’t changed since then, he’s just got better.

“His ability to compete at a high level for such a long time, his love of the game, his competitive nature,” marveled McHale, “it really is fun to watch.”

Competing at a high level for an extended period of time in the National Basketball Association takes a rare talent. It is a skill that is difficult, but far from impossible. The highest standard of excellence has been set by the Spurs, a team with an aging superstar in soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan. Far from the best of friends, Garnett and the 37-year-old Duncan share very similar basketball philosophies, a fact not lost on Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

“They can look in the mirror and realize they’re both the same in so many respects as far as how they run their lives in the NBA and how they’ve run their careers,” Popovich said during his last trip to Boston. “They’re both competitive as hell, they both understand the game, they both love being on the court, and neither one of them is really that excited about the hoopla that is all around it, but they’ve also endured by taking care of their bodies and what they do in the summertime to take care of their bodies.”

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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Some in NBA circles question ‘whether or not Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers desire to continue to coexist’ 05.08.13 at 9:44 am ET
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Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about trade rumors involving the Celtics and Clippers, and what he believes the Celtics will do in the offseason.

Smith said he thinks the Clippers, who were rumored to be interested in Kevin Garnett at the trade deadline, still would like to acquire Garnett, and that the Celtics might try to use that interest to get Blake Griffin from them. To get Griffin, though, Smith said they might have to allow Doc Rivers to go to Los Angeles.

“The Clippers, I know for a fact, were interested in Kevin Garnett,” Smith said. “[Chris Paul] isn’t necessarily happy right now. He wants to stay with the Clippers. I think he’s planning on staying with the Clippers because they can offer him close to $30 million more than anybody else. But he also looks at the Clippers and has reached the conclusion that he needs help on the front line, because neither Blake Griffin nor DeAndre Jordan has the requisite post-game skills to really make room for him to operate. They’re incapable of pulling guys away from the basket and being a threat on the perimeter and therefore giving Chris Paul space to operate.

“From that standpoint, once again, the Clippers have to be willing to let go of one of those guys. They would prefer it to be DeAndre Jordan, because clearly Blake Griffin has a better upside. Plus, he’s a better player. … As a result, in an effort to keep CP3, who’s a guy that approaches free agency and they’re looking to re-sign, they are entertaining a plethora of possibilities.”

One of those possibilities, Smith said, could involve Rivers heading to Los Angeles along with Garnett and Paul Pierce.

“According to guys that I’ve spoken to in NBA circles, the Boston Celtics would look at a guy like a KG, willing to unload him, and who knows, they may be willing to market [Garnett and Pierce] as a package deal,” Smith said. “If you’re the Clippers, obviously that’s not enough to let go of somebody like a Blake Griffin. But if you combine keeping CP3 as a priority, knowing that he wants legitimate help on his front line for the immediate future, combined with the fact that even though I believe Vinny del Negro has done a good job, there are others that don’t believe so. … If somehow, some way, you could get your hands on Doc Rivers in the same breath as you’re getting KG and Paul Pierce, it could be something that could be attractive. And if that’s attractive enough, if you’re Danny Ainge, and you and Doc Rivers, as much as you respect one another, you’ve just worked with one another for a long time — who knows what the situation is, but you might be willing to let Doc Rivers out of his contract.

“You’re not going to do it for Brooklyn or probably anybody within the Eastern Conference, but to move out west to Cali? That might be an attractive enough proposition for the Clippers to sit there and say, well, you know what, OK, we would let go of Blake Griffin under those circumstances.”

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