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Report: Josh Smith eyes Celtics as trade destination 06.21.11 at 9:00 am ET
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It’s splitsville for the Hawks and forward Josh Smith, or so Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski suggested on Tuesday, but could the 2010 NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection find happiness in Boston?

According to Wojnarowski, both Smith and his hometown Hawks may actually prefer the Celtics as a potential suitor for the 2005 slam dunk champ’s services …

Smith hasn’t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him. …

Hawks GM Rick Sund has long coveted Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — two aging Celtics entering the final years of contracts — but Celtics GM Danny Ainge has yet to show an inclination to break up his core for next season.

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Ray Allen exercises option to return to Celtics 06.07.11 at 12:33 pm ET
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Ray Allen

In a move that should surprise no one, Ray Allen has exercised his option for the second year of his contract that will pay him $10 million next season. After the Celtics were eliminated by Miami, Allen said that he intended to stay with the team.

With Allen on board the Celtics have six players under contract for next season: Rajon Rondo, Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal and Avery Bradley. With about $65 million committed in salaries the Celtics will almost certainly be over the salary cap. However, by not signing an extension Allen is set to come off the books after next season along with Garnett and O’Neal.

Allen played in 80 games last season and returned to the All-Star game after averaging 16.5 points while shooting a career-high 44 percent from 3-point range. He also broke Reggie Miller’s all-time record for most 3-pointers made in a career.

He will turn 36 in July and the track record for perimeter players in their late 30′s is not great, but Allen is one of the best conditioned athletes in the sport and the Celtics feel he has several more years left in him.

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Wyc Grousbeck on D&C: ‘I want Miami to lose so badly’ 05.25.11 at 9:56 am ET
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Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning during a charity benefit for the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

After the Celtics lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Grousbeck was asked if he is still watching the playoffs. “I am watching this year because I want Miami to lose so badly,” he said, adding “I’m rooting hard against the Heat.”

Grousbeck said he will be rooting for the Mavericks the rest of the way because of his relationship with Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Said Grousbeck: “I love the guy. … He’s just a good guy. He genuinely roots for us against other teams. He is a Celtics fan when he’s not a Mavs fan. And we’re going to return the favor.”

Grousbeck did give the Heat credit. “I thought they outplayed us in the series,” he said. “They had more juice. They had more pop. I can’t really deny that. I would have loved to take that Monday night game in Boston and make it 2-2 and see what happened. I think we might have won the thing. But I don’t really regret with like a huge missed chance. I’m just annoyed we didn’t beat them.”

When asked about the trade of Kendrick Perkins, Grousbeck said he felt Perkins was not the difference in losing to the Heat. “I love Perk, but I don’t think our issue was guarding their 5 spot,” he said. “Our issue was guarding their 2, 3 and 4. So, not only did we need Jeff Green, we needed about three more of him.”

Grousbeck played down the chemistry factor. “We had gotten that far in the season without Perk. He hadn’t played essentially the entire season,” Grousbeck said. “So, we were starting the games with [Shaquille O'Neal] and finishing the games with [Glen Davis]. And that would have continued in the playoffs if Perk was there. So, Perk wouldn’t have been starting if Shaq had been healthy.

“Where the plan fell short is Shaq not being able to come back; we thought he could.”

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Doc Rivers on D&C: ‘I just thought it was time to show’ loyalty 05.16.11 at 10:37 am ET
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Doc Rivers said part of the reason he re-signed with the Celtics so quickly was to quash rumors that he was headed elsewhere. (AP)

Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, three days after agreeing to a five-year contract extension to remain with the team.

Rivers said that rumors he was contemplating whether to take a sabbatical from coaching so that he could spend more time with his family weren’t accurate — at least not this year.

“Last year, they were probably more right,” he said. “Last year I was absolutely leaning that way. This year I really never was. After last year’s summer and going through the decision that we went through, I was pretty sure I was coming back and I was pretty sure I wanted to come back here.

“This is a special place. And I’ve said that before. You can’t get a lot of these jobs where you coach teams like the Celtics, or the Red Sox, or the Yankees, and I have one of them. I work with a great GM in Danny Ainge and I have good ownership. So, why change?”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Doc, if you don’t mind revealing this, whose idea was it for the longterm contract? Was it you that wanted the extra years, or did Danny want to lock you up for the extra years? Whose idea was it?

Danny brought it up to me. When he first brought it up, I was surprised by it. This was a while ago that he brought it up. I think actually he brought up even more years to start.

I never thought of it in those terms. Because we kept doing these one-year or two-year deals, and I never thought of it. Danny walked in my office and said, “Listen, I want you to be here with me for a long time. And I want to make this something where we’re together for a long time.” And so he brought up the number of years.

You’ve got to process that when you commit to something for that long. We did, and we thought it was the right thing to do.

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Irish Coffee: Celtics playoff picture just a memory 05.12.11 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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Dwyane Wade: ‘I’m not a dirty player’ 05.08.11 at 2:00 am ET
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When Ray Allen gets in your face, you know you’ve done something wrong.

The NBA’s 3-point king rarely loses his cool, but once Dwyane Wade leveled him underneath the Celtics basket just 1:07 after sending Rajon Rondo to the locker room with a dislocated left elbow, Allen jumped to his feet and got into Wade’s face before being restrained by his Heat teammates.

If you’ll recall, it was Wade’s bullrushing of Paul Pierce in Game 1 that ultimately led to the Celtics captain’s ejection. Of his 10 personal fouls in the three-game series, at least three came the hard way.

“The game of basketball is a physical game,” said Wade, who has also taken 29 free throw this series, including two in Game 3 after a hard Pierce foul on a layup attempt. “I’m not not a dirty player. It’s physical. Everyone falls down, and everyone gets up.”

Thankfully, for the Celtics’ sake, Rondo did get up — triumphantly returning from what originally appeared to be a horrific arm injury in the third quarter after he got tangled up with Wade and bent his elbow back about 30 degrees in the wrong direction. The C’s point guard recorded four of his six points and one of his 11 assists while playing the entire fourth quarter of Saturday night’s 97-81 victory with essentially one arm.

“We play this game as competitors, and you never want to see anyone get hurt, whether it’s a friend or not a friend,” added Wade. “It’s someone we have respect for in this game. We have respect for each other. So, you never want to see anyone get hurt, no matter what kind of injury it is. Kudos to him for coming back. That’s a tough injury to come back from that fast. He showed a lot as a leader of the team, coming back and having the performance that he had with that injury.”

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