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Doc Rivers agrees to five-year deal to remain with C’s 05.13.11 at 12:32 pm ET
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Celtics president Danny Ainge said that the team and coach Doc Rivers have come to an agreement on a five-year contract. Yahoo! Sports reports the deal is worth $35 million.

“We wanted him for five years and he wanted to stay for five years,” Ainge said. “I think Doc is the best coach in the league, so I think it’s great for us.”

Rivers indicated it was likely he would return to the Celtics after Wednesday’s season-ending loss to the Heat. “I’m leaning heavily [toward] coming back,” he said. “I haven’t made that decision, but I can tell you I probably will. I’ve kind of come to that over the last couple of weeks.”

Rivers has coached the Celtics for seven seasons, posting a regular-season record of 336-238 and a playoff mark of 46-34. He led the C’s to the 2008 NBA championship. If he serves out the length of the contract, Rivers will pass Tom Heinsohn for second on the list of longest-tenured coaches in franchise history behind only Red Auerbach, who coached for 16 seasons.

“He’s a great leader in the face of adversity,” Ainge said. “There’s nobody I’d rather have on my side more than Doc.”

Rivers decided after last season to come back for one more year. The two sides talked about a long-term deal, but the feeling was that it was too rushed and they agreed to resume talks in training camp. They let the issue be until mid-season when they talked some more and then essentially decided on a direction as the playoffs began. “He understood that it was important for me to know,” Ainge said.

With Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo under contract and Ray Allen likely to exercise his player-option for next season, the Celtics will return the core of the team that Rivers has coached the last four seasons. Garnett and Allen will both be free agents after next season and the Celtics will likely undergo an overhaul, but Ainge said Rivers was committed to the long haul.

“He knows the circumstances of our team as well as anyone, the players, the ages the contracts, he gets it all,” Ainge said. “He wants to be part of this franchise and he wants to be working with us. We have a great relationship with owners, management and coaching that I think is unique.”

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AP: Doc, Celtics working on a new multiyear deal 05.12.11 at 7:52 pm ET
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The Celtics and Doc Rivers are working on a multiyear deal that would keep Rivers in Boston for the foreseeable future, according to the Associated Press.

The AP quotes a source saying the deal would be for “more than two or three years.” Celtics GM Danny Ainge did not return calls to the AP, but did acknowledge in an on-air appearance with WEEI’s “Big Show” on Thursday that the sides were working on a long-term deal. After Miami eliminated Boston on Wednesday night, Rivers sounded like a man who was intent on returning to the Celtics’ bench.

“I haven’t made that decision, but I can tell you I probably will,” he said. “I’m a Celtic and I love our guys. I want to win again here, and I’m competitive as hell. I have a competitive group, so we’ll see. I can tell you that is where I am at today. Tomorrow I may change my mind, but that’s where I am at today.”

To listen to Ainge’s full interview, click here.

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Irish Coffee: Celtics playoff picture just a memory at 1:00 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

In the end, the hated Heat executed and defended better. Essentially, they did everything the Celtics always used to do, except with younger, better and healthier players. Now, with another year of mileage on Boston’s Big Three’s old legs, the Celtics hope to make one more run against a Miami team that’s only going to improve.

Something’s gotta change. They need help at the center position. They need the No. 25 pick in the NBA draft to give them something. And they need to make a splash with their mid-level exception. This all assumes, of course, that there is an NBA season in 2011-12. As for Game 5 and its aftermath, The Associated Press pictures tell the whole story, so let’s let them (NOTE: click on the pictures in the rest of this entry to follow the links) …

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Celtics look to come back for one more run at 1:53 am ET
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Doc Rivers (AP)

MIAMI — It was surprising if only for the timing, but Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after his team had been eliminated by Miami that he was , “leaning heavily toward coming back,” next season.

Rivers contract is up and there has been speculation that he would take a year off to watch his son Austin play at Duke. But Rivers said that he had more or less decided to return during the last two weeks.

“I haven’t made that decision, but I can tell you I probably will [come back],” Rivers said. “I’m a Celtic and I love our guys. I want to win again here and I’m competitive as hell. I can tell you that is where I am at today. Tomorrow I may change my mind, but that’s where I’m at today.”

Unlike last season when several of their key players were unsigned, Rivers is the biggest domino for the Celtics this offseason and reaction in the locker room was overwhelmingly positive.

“I want to put this on the record, Doc already committed to me and said he was coming back so he can’t go back against his word,” Rajon Rondo said. Asked what his career would be like without Rivers, Rondo said, “I don’t even want to imagine. I really want him to come back.”

With Rivers seemingly on board, other pieces began to fall into place as well. Ray Allen, who has a player option for next season, also declared his intentions to return. “This has been my team,” he said. “I have been full steam ahead with this team. I don’t have any plans to go anywhere else.”

With Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett already under contract, the Celtics core looks like they will come back for one more run. Center Jermaine O’Neal also has a year left and he said that he felt his body would allow him to come back for one more season. “If you ask me do I think I have another year in me, yeah, I do,” he said.

The Celtics will have some decisions to make. Glen Davis is an unrestricted free agent and he may have played, and talked, his way out of Boston after an uneven playoff performance.

“You can’t just base it on just the playoffs,” Davis said. “My whole body of work I feel like I can play in this league. I can start in this league. My second year when Kevin went down my third year playing in the playoffs and this year was my best year. I just didn’t play well in the playoffs this year. Things happen like that. I don’t think this playoffs is going to hurt me as much.”

Asked if he wanted to stay, Davis said, “I have given thought about that. I love Boston and I plan on wishing I can stay. But you never know like [Kendrick Perkins] situation. He was here for eight years he wanted to stay but it just might not work my way. It’s just how it is.”

He continued, “I want to be a player in this league. I feel like I have a lot more to offer. I want to show the world my talent.”

Jeff Green is a restricted free agent, meaning the team can match any offer he receives. “There’s a lot to my game that people haven’t seen,” he said. “There’s a lot I can bring to this team.”

Delonte West and Nenad Krstic are also free agents, as are Von Wafer, Sasha Pavlovic, Carlos Arroyo and Troy Murphy. The Celtics would undoubtedly like to bring West back. Despite his struggles, Krstic does have value as big men with his experience are hard to find. The future is less certain for the other four.

Avery Bradley is also under contract and this will be a big summer for him as he tries to carve out a niche for next season. The Celtics love his talent, but he received only scarce playing time.

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Doc Rivers: ‘I love our guys’ and I’m ‘leaning heavily to coming back’ 05.11.11 at 10:08 pm ET
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Just minutes after being eliminated in a stunning 16-0 game-ending run in Game 5 by the Miami Heat, Doc Rivers announced that he is leaning heavily toward returning as the Celtics head coach next season.

“I’m leaning heavily to coming back,” said Rivers, who is not signed for the 2011-12 season. “I haven’t made a decision but I can tell you I probably will [return]. I’ve kind of come to that [decision] over the last couple of weeks. I’m a Celtic and I love our guys. And I want to win again here, I do. I’m competitive as hell and I have a competitive group. So, we’ll see but I can tell you that’s where I’m at today. I may change my mind tomorrow but that’s where I’m at today.”

Rivers reflected on the intense fight that his team put forward with players like Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal battling injuries throughout the series.

“I know we gave a lot in Game 3 and I never felt like we could ever get all that effort back from all our guys and the games did come quick,” Rivers said. “I will say this, I don’t believe this team is done, though. After listening to the Lakers being broken up after they lost, I’m sure, hell, we’re all done, our team. We have to add some people but other than that, I love the guys in that locker room.”

The first major personnel decision could be what to do with Glen Davis, who is unsigned next season. Jeff Green is also a restricted free agent this summer. Shaquille O’Neal told TNT’s Craig Sager before the Game 5 that he will decide this summer if he will play again or retire.

As for the game itself, Rivers had few words for the 16-0 run that ended his seventh season in Boston.

“It happens,” Rivers said. “I’ve just about seen all of it. It’s not the way you want to end the game or the season.”

Visibly fighting off emotions, Rivers concluded the post-game Game 5 press conference by answering how much of his desire to return is tied to the fact that Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are all under contract for next season.

“Yeah, and I love them and I love the people I work for,” Rivers said. “It’s tough. So, we’ll see. That’s where I’m at today for sure.”

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Irish Coffee: What exactly is ‘championship DNA’? at 12:48 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee …

Probably as a Pavlovian response forced upon them by coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat keep saying the Celtics have some mythical championship DNA lingering from their 2008 title that will make them seemingly impossible to oust from the NBA playoffs in Game 5.

  • Dwyane Wade: “That’s a championship team, and they play with the championship DNA that they have.”
  • Mario Chalmers: “We know they’ve won a championship before, and they have a championship DNA. We’re just trying to get there, and we want to beat them.”
  • Udonis Haslem: “We have the opportunity to close it out. It’s not going to be easy. I understand that they’ve got the championship DNA, and they’re not going to just give it to us. It’s going to be a hard-fought game.”

What, exactly, is “championship DNA”? Did the two-time defending champion Lakers have it when they were swept out of this season’s Western Conference semifinals by the title-starved Mavericks? Did the four-time champ Spurs have it this year when they lost in the first round to an eighth-seeded Grizzlies team that had never won a playoff game before?

Only five players remain from the Celtics team that won a title three years ago — albeit their best five for much of the season, until Glen Davis went missing. Like people, NBA teams get old, and they eventually pass the torch to someone with younger, stronger and/or better DNA. Someone like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.

The sad part is that you can still extract DNA from somebody after they’re dead. But a heart is different. As long as it’s beating, you’re still alive. And the Celtics, for now, are still alive.

“This is a veteran team with a championship heart,” said the Heat’s Chris Bosh, after he helped push the Celtics to the brink of elimination in Game 4. They’re going to come out swinging in the beginning until the end no matter what the outcome is. We just have to be prepared for that. We have to use the homecourt to our advantage and just play basketball.”

So, the real question before Game 5: Is that championship heart still beating?

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Why Erik Spoelstra and the Heat still fear Kevin Garnett and the C’s 05.10.11 at 12:04 pm ET
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After Saturday night’s 28-point, 18-rebound performance, Erik Spoelstra called Kevin Garnett the modern-day Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

After his team found a way to hold Garnett to 1-of-10 shooting from the field and seven points in a 98-90 overtime win over the Celtics Monday night, Spoelstra wasn’t about to say he found any miraculous answer. And if he did, he wasn’t about to share it anyway.

“I’m not going to say anything about it,” Spoelstra said. “Now he’s got 48 hours to gain all his fuel again and fuel him up. I’m sure if I actually paid attention, everybody will be saying whatever they will be saying about him.”

Chris Bosh was a big piece of the puzzle on Monday night, so was Joel Anthony, the surprise starter at center for Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

“He’s a champion,” Spoelstra said of KG. “I have incredible respect for him. We tried to be active defensively. We tried to not leave people on an island. I anticipate we’ll get their best games on Wednesday and we have to be better than that. If we’re real about what we want to do, we have to beat the Boston Celtics at their best.”

All of that is well and good but Doc Rivers knows he has to have more out of KG Wednesday night in Miami if the Celtics have a prayer of chance to bring the series back to the Garden for Game 6 Friday night.

“I don’t know,” Rivers responded when asked if Garnett was tentative. “They trapped him a couple of times and I thought he was probably looking more for traps. We have to get him down there more; we tried. So, I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think he was looking for – he was looking to be a passer to me more than being an aggressive scorer. And that was that.”

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