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Doc Rivers: ‘Just like we wanted Ray to stay, I know they wanted Wes to stay’ 03.13.13 at 7:34 pm ET
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Doc Rivers (left) and Bill Belichick (right) have a lot in common, like losing popular free agents. (AP)

Doc Rivers (left) and Bill Belichick (right) have a lot in common, like losing popular free agents. (AP)

The shockwaves from the Wes Welker signing in Denver extended not only beyond New England but beyond the NFL.

Just ask Doc Rivers. The Celtics head coach is a close friend of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and was the guest of the Patriots coach on Dec. 10 when the Patriots beat the Texans on Monday night football at Gillette Stadium.

So, Rivers, who grew up a Bears fan, actually felt badly for Patriots fans and acknowledged as much before the Celtics hosted Toronto Wednesday night at TD Garden, just hours after Welker’s seismic signing with the Broncos.

“Say it ain’t so, Wes,” Rivers said in opening his pre-game press availability Wednesday night.

But the most interesting part of Rivers’ reaction came later when asked if he ever talked about team building and keeping it together. Rivers compared Welker’s exit to that of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat.

“We lost Ray, it feels like, the same way that they lost Wes,” Rivers said. “We wanted him, we did everything we could, and somehow they go somewhere else.”

The similarity is striking. Allen left via free agency for Boston’s chief rival and defending champion Miami Heat. Welker is now going to the Broncos and playing with Peyton Manning, New England’s biggest rival behind the Ravens in the AFC.

“Just like we wanted Ray to stay, I know they wanted Wes to stay,” said Rivers. “It just sometimes doesn’t work out.“

For more, visit the Celtics and Patriots team pages at weei.com/celtics and weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Boston Celtics, Denver Broncos, Doc Rivers
First things first: Examining the Celtics roster for 2011-12 05.13.11 at 6:04 pm ET
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The first item of business for Celtics president Danny Ainge was locking up coach Doc Rivers to a long-term contract, which they agreed upon Friday for five years. With Rivers on board for more than just a last run with the big three, the Celtics will enter an offseason where they are looking at the long-term, while also trying to stay contenders for next season.

The real overhaul is likely to begin after the 2012 season when Kevin Garnett‘s contract comes off the books and a new collective bargaining agreement is in place. The 2012 free agency class in also much stronger than this summer’s crop with Dwight Howard expected to be the main prize.

Building around the core for one more shot at a championship is really the only option for Ainge unless he is willing to trade one of his aging stars. In an end of the season meeting with the media, Ainge said that he always considers all options. Still, it would be a surprise.

Assuming Ray Allen picks up his player option, which he said he intends to do, the Celtics will have over $64 million committed to six players. That would put them over the salary cap under the current rules and while they are likely to be altered under a new CBA, the cap number is not likely to go up from its current $58 million.

“I know this about the big three: they still have a lot of basketball in them,” Ainge said. “How much can they carry a team, [and be] 20-point a game scorers, I don’t know. I do know they’re still very talented but we need to add talent around them.”

It’s important to note that no one knows what the new salary cap rules will look like under a new CBA. Therefore it’s impossible to predict what kind of moves Ainge will be able to make this offseason. Under the existing rules, Ainge would be able to go over the cap to re-sign his own players and offer free agents from other teams money from the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions, as well as the veterans minimum.

Before we get to a new CBA — and free agency — here’s a look at the current roster, with comments from Ainge. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011-12 Roster, Danny Ainge, free agency,
Report: Heat may target Kendrick Perkins in free agency 02.05.11 at 12:30 pm ET
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The NBA is facing massive uncertainty once the season ends if the owners decide to lockout the players, as expected. A new collective bargaining agreement would almost certainly re-write the rules on free agency, but one thing is clear from the Celtics perspective: Kendrick Perkins will be very much in demand.

In his latest After the Buzzer column, Yahoo columnist Marc Spears writes that a source expects the Miami Heat to make a run at Perkins once he hits free agency. That would make sense for the Heat who lack a big man compliment to Chris Bosh on their frontline. Under the current rules Miami would only be able to offer the mid-level exception, while the Celtics would be able to offer Perkins whatever they want to retain his services.

Either way, Perkins will be in demand as a 26-year-old center with proven rebounding and defensive skills.

Read More: free agency, Kendrick Perkins, Miami Heat,
What Pierce’s new deal means for the Celtics 07.02.10 at 9:59 am ET
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Paul Pierce will most likely be retiring as a member of the Boston Celtics. (AP)

Paul Pierce will most likely be retiring as a member of the Boston Celtics. (AP)

Multiple outlets are reporting that the Celtics have reached an agreement with Paul Pierce on a new contract that will likely keep him in Boston for the duration of his career. A source told Jeff Goodman of WEEI.com/FoxSports.com that the total package would be worth $61 million over four years, with all four years guaranteed.

Pierce left $21.5 million on the table for next season by terminating the final year of his contract and the new deal gives him certainty in what promises to be an uncertain NBA. The collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after the 2010-11 season, and the expectation is that the owners will try to rein in player’s salaries.

Pierce’s new deal will take the Celtics over the salary cap, but it may provide some luxury-tax relief in the long run, which is no small consideration.

There are risks for the Celtics. Pierce will be 36 years old in the final year of the deal, which can’t be finalized or officially announced until next week. It will also take him well beyond Kevin Garnett’s contract, which has two seasons remaining.

But four years is the cost of keeping the team together for another run at a championship and that has been Danny Ainge’s plan all along. Doc Rivers elected to return for the final season of his coaching contract earlier in the week, but the work is only half done. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: free agency, NBA Rumor Mill 2010, Paul Pierce,
Source: Doc Rivers returns to Celtics 06.30.10 at 1:31 pm ET
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WEEI’s Michael Holley has confirmed through a team source that Doc Rivers will return to coach the Boston Celtics next season.

The Herald’s Steve Bulpett was first to report the story.

This is very encouraging news for the Celtics and Danny Ainge as he attempts to bring back the core of the team for another run. The veteran players had all expressed support for Rivers while he took some time to consider his options.

While Paul Pierce has decided to terminate the final year on his contract and joins Ray Allen as a free agent, Rivers return is a significant factor in their decision-making.

It also allows the Celtics a degree of stability in what has been an eventful few weeks since their loss in Game 7 of the NBA finals against the Lakers.

In addition to Pierce’s decision, Tom Thibodeau was introduced as the head coach of the Bulls ending what had been a very successful three-year relationship between Rivers and his assistant. Also, Kendrick Perkins told reporters Tuesday that he would have surgery to repair a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee and would probably be out until late December or January.

What isn’t known yet is whether Rivers would consider extending his contract beyond next season. But with the start of free agency Thursday, his return eliminates some of the guesswork for potential free agent targets and also increases the likelihood that veteran players who miss out on big contracts would sign with the Celtics.

Read More: Doc Rivers, free agency, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen
What Paul Pierce’s opt out means for the Celtics 06.29.10 at 11:28 pm ET
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As ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported, Paul Pierce will opt out of the final year of his contract, which will make him a free agent on July 1. While Pierce is leaving $21.5 million on the table, he is setting himself up for a longer deal before a new collective bargaining agreement is in place following next season.

The move, while not unexpected, makes Danny Ainge’s life a little more difficult as he attempts to bring back the core of the Celtics team for another run. The Celtics still retain Bird rights on Pierce and Ray Allen, which allows them to go over to the cap to re-sign both of them.

That remains the best course of action for Ainge. Despite their status as free agents, Pierce and Allen are still tied to the Celtics cap in the form of cap holds at around $20 million each until they sign a new deal. The Celtics would have to renounce both players, as well as the remaining six free agents on the roster, in order to get significantly under the cap to pursue free agents.

There is a chance that a team like the Clippers, Nets or Knicks could make a run at Pierce if they fail to sign LeBron James.

The big question on new deals for Pierce, and for Allen, is the length. Ainge would prefer to tie everything back to Kevin Garnett’s contract, which has two years remaining, but he may be forced to go to three, or even four years in Pierce’s case.

Still left to be determined before the start of free agency is whether Doc Rivers will return to coach the team, which may also have an impact on whether Pierce and Allen want to return.

Read More: free agency, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen,
The need for Sheed 07.05.09 at 10:57 pm ET
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Once the Celtics interest in Rasheed Wallace became known, and once the other free agent prizes began to find teams, it became more and more apparent that the Celtics had to get a deal done with Wallace. Not because Cleveland traded for Shaquille O’Neal or because Orlando added Vince Carter, but because Wallace is exactly what the Celtics need, and there is no one else remotely like him available.

The Celtics came into this offseason with three identifiable areas of need: A backup point guard who can run the team competently when Rajon Rondo goes to the bench, a versatile swing man–preferably one who can guard at least two positions, make a jump shot and give Paul Pierce some real rest–and a big man. Already in luxury tax territory and armed with the mid-level exception the Celtics had one big play to make and to that end they wisely stayed out of the limited point guard pool and the big-money small forward arms race. In zeroing in on Wallace, the Celtics identified their biggest need and spent accordingly.

Wallace’s agent, Bill Strickland, made noises during the courtship that a selling point for Wallace was assurances that the Celtics were not done making moves. They still have the bi-annual exception (projected to be around $2 million) and if they can land someone like Grant Hill, that would represent the best-case scenario. But there are still a few solid veterans looking for new homes, like Marquis Daniels, Quinton Ross and Anthony Parker, as well as in-house options like Brian Scalabrine, JR Giddens and Bill Walker. The Celtics have options, in other words.

But landing a quality big man was always the top priority and in Wallace the Celtics not only get an intelligent, versatile veteran who has been on a championship team, they also get something they did not have at all last season: protection in case Kevin Garnett or Kendrick Perkins gets hurt.

Wallace is much more than an insurance policy, however. His offensive game may have gotten a little too perimeter-heavy last season, but his style of play fits perfectly in the Celtics system which rarely utilizes a low-post option. Additionally his ability to guard power forward and centers, particularly centers, is a huge addition for the Celtics who haven’t really had that player during the Big 3 era (except for PJ Brown’s playoff run), and they have had to ask undersized power forwards like Leon Powe and Glen Davis to play out of position.

The Celtics still need a backup point guard and seem content to try to lure one with the veteran minimum like maybe Ty Lue (one of Kevin Garnett’s best friends) and that small forward, but they just solved their biggest offseason problem with the addition of Rasheed Wallace.

Read More: Celtics, free agency, Rasheed Wallace,
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