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Danny Ainge sees Celtics stars returning next season 05.09.13 at 5:04 pm ET
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On his final weekly appearance on Salk & Holley of the 2012-13 NBA season, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called the recent Stephen A. Smith rumors “silly,” indicated Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett will return next season, reaffirmed Rajon Rondo should be back for training camp and called Paul Pierce‘s future the first tough decision of his summer.

On Pierce: “There’€™s a lot that will go into it, but it hasn’€™t even started yet. We have until June 30 to make any decision. Listen, Paul’€™s been one of the greatest Celtics of all-time, and that will play a part in it. We love what he’€™s done for us, but ultimately we have to do what we think is the best for us from this point forward. And I think that Paul still has a lot of basketball left in him.”

On Rivers: “”Doc is always unsure. Coaching is very, very draining. Every year with Doc, he’€™s had to go home and sort of recharge and ask himself that question, ‘€˜Is this something that I’€™m passionate about and want to continue doing?’€™ I understand that. And we sort of give him time to unwind and relax, and after a couple of 92’s on the golf course, he usually comes back.

“I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics.”

On Garnett: “I’€™ll touch base with KG probably some time next week. He puts so much into the game. He invests as much as any player I’€™ve ever seen. He just needs time to chill and contemplate his life, and then we’€™ll talk at some future time, but I do anticipate that KG will play. Just like I did last year, I feel the same this year. I don’€™t know for sure, but we’€™ll know more in the next couple weeks.”

On Rondo: “So far, he looks good. Him and [Leandro] Barbosa have both been rehabbing and both have looked good from their ACL [injuries]. From everything our medical staff has told us, Rondo is doing great, and he should be ready by training camp.”

The Barbosa mention seemed strange, considering the C’s dealt him to the Wizards in the Jordan Crawford deal. Ainge said not to read too much into the veteran rehabbing in Boston (but still …). Here are more highlights from the fantastic interview by Salk & Holley — a must listen for anyone looking for a summer Celtics primer:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Irish Coffee: Six Celtics steps for this summer 05.08.13 at 2:33 pm ET
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Not even a week after their season ended with a wondrous failed comeback against the Knicks, the Celtics have already entered full-blown offseason mode. They’ve since lost wunderkind assistant general manager Ryan McDonough to the Suns, and the ridiculous rumor mill is churning like never before.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers stated the obvious after the Game 6 loss on Friday night when he explained team president Danny Ainge “has already worked on stuff.” Here’s the “stuff” facing Ainge over the next few months.

Step 1: What to do with Paul Pierce?

A decision on one of four options for Pierce must be made by July 1:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Stephen A. Smith on D&C: Some in NBA circles question ‘whether or not Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers desire to continue to coexist’ at 9:44 am ET
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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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Read More: blake griffin, Chris Paul, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers
The Celtics are dead, long live the Celtics 05.04.13 at 2:31 am ET
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The Celtics are dead, long live the Celtics.

The Knicks hosted their funeral on Wednesday, and the zombie C’s crawled out of their graves to live one more game. Then, they buried themselves alive in the first three quarters of Game 6, and nearly lived to tell about it. Grit and balls. Heart of a champion. #BostonStrong. All of it was on display amid a 20-0 run over four fourth-quarter minutes that nobody would’ve believed if the 18,624 fans filling the Garden hadn’t watched it unfold.

As Knicks guard Iman Shumpert said after an 88-80 win that finally laid these C’s to rest, “It felt like it wasn’t real.”

Only this time the ghosts of Celtics past weren’t good enough. Not without Rajon Rondo. Not on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett alone. Not anymore. So, what now? Where do these old, tired, stubborn Celtics go from here?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, NBA
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have ‘no idea’ about their futures after Game 6 at 12:43 am ET
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It was the obvious question to ask Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the moments after their season came to an end with a Game 6 loss to the Knicks.

Will they be back for another season?

“I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest with you. I’m kind of digesting , obviously, the current, and Doc came to me, pulled Paul and I to the side and all three of us agreed to speak later — too emotional,” Garnett said. “Obviously, it was a big game, tough loss, especially at home. But more importantly in the future, it’s a different day for that conversation.”

Pierce is signed for next season but only $5 million of his $15 million for next season is guaranteed. He could be amnestied under the new NBA CBA if GM Danny Ainge wants to overhaul the roster.

“That’s a decision for the management,” Pierce said. “Who knows what the future [holds]? I’ve been here 15 years and I’ve seen a lot of changes each and every year. So I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of changes here and we’ll see what happens.”

Garnett made it very clear that his decision about next year will hinge greatly on whether Ainge brings back Pierce.

“One of the big reasons I came [to Celtics] was because of Paul,” said Garnett. “Obviously, you want to be in a situation where it’s better. I want to make sure that I’m able to always help a team. I want to be in positions to where I’m giving something. I demand a lot of myself, both physically and from a skill level. But I’d be lying to y’all if I said Paul didn’t play into that factor. Like I said, it’s too soon of a conversation for me right now.”

Pierce, who said he will play in the NBA next season, was asked if he wants to return to Boston for a 16th season.

“That’s up to Danny and them,” Pierce said. “I have no idea.”

Coach Doc Rivers is also not a sure thing to return. He signed a five-year, $35 million extension before the 2011-12 season. He has three years left on it, that is if he wants to return.

“I don’t think about any of that stuff,” Rivers said. “Danny knows me pretty well. I immerse myself; that’s the only way I can do it, probably to a fault. Pretty much unlivable during the year. So I don’t know. Danny knows he gives me at least a week to do just whatever I do — and I don’t know what I do, sit and watch cartoons or something — then we’ll talk about it. But Danny has already worked on [offseason plans]. He never shows me. I don’t want to hear it, I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to know anything. We’ll figure it all out, and we’ll see.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Jason Terry
Game 6 pregame notes: Doc Rivers tells his team they must ‘supply the energy’ 05.03.13 at 7:13 pm ET
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Maybe it was as simple as learning from Game 6 against Miami last spring in the Eastern Conference finals. Or Maybe it was just re-enforcing the obvious.

Whatever the reason, Doc Rivers made one thing perfectly clear before Game 6 with the Knicks Friday night – the Celtics, not the crowd, must be the ones to bring it against New York if they are going to become the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after a 3-0 hole,

“I told our guys, we can’€™t lean on,” said Rivers. “We have to supply the energy. We can’€™t think because we’€™re here now that we can let our guard down. We’€™re playing a really good team and an extremely talented team. We have to do more to win, in my opinion. We have to be ready to do that.”

Rivers, surrounded by 25 reporters and photographers outside the Celtics locker room, said he’s also not putting much stock in the bad blood between the two teams after the exchange between Jordan Crawford and Carmelo Anthony.

“I don’€™t worry about that. I really thought that was much ado about nothing,” Rivers said. “I thought Carmelo said something to Jordan; Jordan said something back. It’€™s words. Obviously, then then words take their own meaning, I’€™m hearing that people are reading lips now and all this stuff. I had one of my assistants telling me what he thought someone said. I was like, ‘€˜Oh my gosh, this is getting too deep for me.’€™ I really don’€™t worry about it. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy dislike, that’€™s all good. But let’€™s just play the game.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, NBA playoffs
Game 5 pregame notes: Doc Rivers says ‘I want to be part of’ making NBA history 05.01.13 at 5:53 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Doc Rivers had a prediction of his own Wednesday night, less than an hour before Game 5 at Madison Square Garden. Reminded that the Celtics have erased historic deficits in the past, such as being down 2-0 and 3-1. But neither they nor any NBA team in history has come all the way back from 3-0 down to win an NBA playoff series.

How appropriated would it be for the Celtics to be the first?

“I think so,” Rivers said. “I think that would be wonderful, and someone’s going to do it, and I want it to be us since that’s the situation we’re in. But someone will do it and I really want to be a part of that.”

But that’s where the talk and statement-making ends for Rivers.

Kenyon Martin made good on a prediction that he would have players show up in all black for the Celtics’ funeral Wednesday, all players arrived in black suits and ties. Asked for a reaction to the Knicks showing up in their dressing room all wearing back, Rivers fired back, “So did I.”

The playoffs have always been putting actions before words.

Rivers knows this better than anyone. He knows when teams talk like the Knicks did after Game 4, that’s usually a sign of immaturity and sometimes panic.

So, when asked if he thinks at all about what the series would be like if the Celtics had Rajon Rondo, Rivers used the chance to jab back at the Knicks.

“I don’t think that,” Rivers said of Rondo’s absence and the role in the series. “I don’t use that as a reason. Just like the Knicks probably shouldn’t use that the reason we won was because J.R. Smith didn’t play. But they did.

“That’s what they should do. I hope they expend it all. I don’t really care. We just have to come out ready to play. They’re at home, they’re going to try and feed off their crowd and all that but at the end of the day, it’s going to be between the lines. It’s not going to be what anybody out in the crowd says or does. It’s going to be between the lines.”

Reminded of his one-game-at-a-time mentality heading into another elimination game, Rivers added, “We have no choice. We need to go one possession at a time, really. It’s what you really need to do in the playoffs. To be really great, you need to be one possession at a time.”

More from Rivers shootaround and pregame:

On Jeff Green‘s emergence as a go-to scorer: “I’ve got a feeling they probably went to Durant in Oklahoma City. At Georgetown, he was the guy. He got them to the Final Four. He’s been there before.”

“If he plays well, he will. If he doesn’t, then he’ll do it again next year. If he plays well [next year], then that will be. I don’t try to put too much on any one game or one series. He’s so young, he has a long career. The sooner he gets it going, the better for everybody.”

On whether Green is back to full strength after heart surgery: “I don’t know about this surgery. It’s usually ankles, knees and things like that. I don’t know is the answer. I would say usually in that case but it’s not anything I’m thinking about right now, to be honest. It’s not my concern or thought.”

On what experience in playoffs means: “The playoffs are the best tool of teaching you can use for all the players. Even the veterans learn in the playoffs because you really do understand that every possession matters in a game and not the last possession when you decide to focus on that and then you realize it’s too late.

I think everybody, even the guys who aren’t playing a lot, they see it, they see the intensity that if you want to be great, that you have to play at, consistently.

On Avery Bradley, his struggles and his matchup this series with Raymond Felton: “I think it spills over to the defense at times. You’re human. If you’re not making shots and you’re getting down on that, that takes away energy from you, on both ends. I think overall, he’s fighting through it. I think he’s coming out of it. He made his first shot the other night [in Game 4] and didn’t make another one. But he made his first shot. More importantly, I didn’t think he hesitated on any of the other shots. That’s all we want him to do. For us, he’s our defensive player. The offense will come.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, J.R. Smith, NBA
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