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Barry on D&H: Pierce and Allen have ‘mileage’ 07.01.10 at 12:27 pm ET
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ESPN NBA analyst Jon Barry joined the Dale & Holley show Thursday on the first day of the free-agency period in the NBA and discussed the Celtics’ two biggest free agents, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. He said that both players have some “mileage” on them and that although Boston wants to bring the pair back, it should be cautious before jumping right in and signing each.

“I know Boston’s a great organization, and I know they want these two guys back,” Barry said. “They’d love to make a run with the same team and see if they can do it again. But you have to use your head and decide whether these guys can get you back to that level.”

Barry also dished on who he thinks has the best shot at LeBron James—he says it’s the Bulls—and just how bad it would be for Cleveland if it lost its King.

“They’ll win no more than 28, maybe 30,” he said. “They’ll be devastated. This guy means absolutely everything to this team. It’d be horrendous. Cleveland’s gone through so many hardships throughout the years with all their teams, but nothing can get worse than this. This would absolutely ruin this franchise.”

Some highlights from that interview are below. To hear the interview in its entirety, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

Does Doc Rivers coming back help the Celtics have a chance at getting back to where they were halfway through Game 7?

Well, I honestly didn’t think they’d get into Game 7 this year. You saw this team. They were 27-27 in the last 54 games. This is a team that no one thought would have gotten to the finals. I didn’t write them off just because of their championship pedigree and the guys they have on this roster. I think that’s what made it so attractive for Doc to come back that it’s an intriguing group, it’s a different group. I think it’s a really special group that he has there. You think about what they’ve done. They put this together. They got a title in the first year that Garnett and Allen come in. If Kevin Garnett’s not hurt last year, they have a real good opportunity to win again. Then this year, they have a 13-point lead in the second half of an NBA finals Game 7. You’re talking about a team that was on the cusp of winning three straight NBA titles so I guess to him that’s something attractive to come back and give it one more try.

What is the perception around the league of Paul Pierce?

I would just say aging. Two years ago when they won this thing, he was the best player in the playoffs. He outplayed Kobe Bryant. He outplayed LeBron James. He was the best player in the playoffs bar none. He was unbelievable. Just saw some chinks in the armor this year. He got banged up. He got injured. Looked to me to be a tired player at the end of the season last year. Quite frankly, I’d say Ron Artest outplayed him in Games 6 and 7, which I would have never thought possible. So he’s an aging guy. I think he’s only 31, but he just seems to have a lot of mileage on him. You know, an aging superstar. He’s still a superstar player though. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jon Barry, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen,
Report: James wooing Allen? at 12:12 am ET
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LeBron James and Ray Allen could be playing together next season. (AP)

LeBron James has approached Ray Allen about the possibility of playing with him, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, according to the Miami Herald.

Stemming from an original report in the New York Daily News that James reached out to a free agent to join the trio on a “Dream Team,” Jorge Sedano of the Miami Herald writes:

“I’ve come across a source who has told me that free agent player could be Ray Allen. The source tells me that Allen has spoken to James and his preference is to remain with the Celtics, but that’s predicated on Paul Pierce remaining with the team. The money is not a huge factor. Winning more championships is the most important factor.”

Although the report did not specify which team James was referring to, the rumor mill has been buzzing for weeks about James, Wade, and Bosh signing together with the Heat.

For Allen, who turns 35 in July, he doesn’t just play basketball for the sake of it. He plays to win. But there is more to his free agency than just aligning himself with the hottest megastars for a shot at a title.

Allen likes playing in Boston and believes the C’s could have a chance to win it all next season should they return their core players. The fact that Doc Rivers is returning to the sidelines will also be a draw.

There is an off-the-court side to it as well. Allen’s young son is battling juvenile diabetes. He was hospitalized less than a month ago during the NBA finals. Being in Boston affords Allen the proximity to some of the best diabetic care in the country.

“I’ll deal with that when the time comes, but it’s obvious that I don’t want to be anywhere else,” Allen said of free agency following the Celtics Game 7 loss in the finals.

After the clock struck 12:01am on July 1, the time is here.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Chris Bosh, Doc Rivers, Dwyane Wade
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,
Mannix on D&C: ‘I don’t see’ Ainge leaving for Phoenix 06.22.10 at 10:20 am ET
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Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to talk about the Celtics and all things NBA. He touched on the possibility of Doc Rivers leaving the Celtics, the NBA draft, and coaching changes around the association.

“I’ve talked to a few coaching friends of Doc in the last 72 hours, and every one of them, the consensus is that he’s probably going to walk away,” Mannix said. “For all the reasons that he enumerated, there’s nothing remotely surprising about it. They feel like it’s time, they feel like it makes sense. He’s taken the team or the team has gone as a current group as far as they possibly can go and now is a great situation to leave.”

Mannix also spoke about what it will take to re-sign Ray Allen and bring him back for next season.

Below are highlights from the conversation. Visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page to hear the interview.

On Doc Rivers:

I’ve talked to a few coaching friends of Doc in the last 72 hours, and every one of them, the consensus is that he’s probably going to walk away. For all the reasons that he enumerated, there’s nothing remotely surprising about it. They feel like it’s time, they feel like it makes sense. He’s taken the team or the team has gone as a current group as far as they possibly can go and now is a great situation to leave. Nothing that’s new as far as I was being told, but the tug of the family in Florida and wanting to watch his kids grow up have really weighed on Doc a lot more this year than they have in years past. So the consensus is around the league that he’s going to walk away.

On Danny Ainge leaving:

That’s an interesting thing that’s not being talked about a lot, that the Phoenix Suns now have an opening in their general manager position and Danny has very strong ties to Phoenix, having coached there, played there, I believe he still has a home there in the offseason. He just has a very strong connection there. It’s possible that [owner] Robert Sarver could come in with some kind of sweetheart deal and try to entice Danny there. For obviously, with the same reasons we’re talking about Doc, this thing may have played itself out for Danny. He won a championship, he brought them to two NBA finals, he accomplished a lot with this Celtics team. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chris Mannix, Doc Rivers, Ray Allen,
Ray: ‘One of the hardest feelings of my lifetime’ 06.18.10 at 2:40 am ET
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LOS ANGELES — Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen called the Game 7 loss to the Lakers Thursday night “one of the hardest feelings” of his life after the Lakers rallied for an 83-79 win over the Celtics at Staples Center, the first time in five tries the Lakers have beaten Boston in a Game 7.

Allen, in what could be his final game as a Celtic, finished with 13 points on 3-for-14 shooting.

“It’s disappointing,” Allen began. “This is probably one of the hardest feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime. We’re scratching and clawing, trying to do everything we could to pull this one out. That’s probably what hurt the most – just having the opportunity to win down the stretch. It didn’t go our way.”

And the mood in the locker room after what could be the final game together for these particular group of Celtics?

“Tears, just a lot of tears,” Allen said.

And would he return?

“It’s hard to think about playing,” he said. “You’ve got guys that are veteran players that come in and do their job every night. You know, we’re here for a reason. It’s tough to see it end this way.

“I’m extremely proud,” Allen continued. “We’re a group of guys that stay within ourselves and do what we’re capable of. We fought the good fight all the time. When people didn’t believe in us, we stayed true to ourselves and made sure we came in and did our jobs every day. We don’t win this final game, but we still have a lot to hold our heads high for.”

Read More: Celtics, Game 7, Lakers, NBA Finals
5 Things that Went Wrong in Game 7 at 12:07 am ET
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The Celtics lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday night, 83-79, falling short of their 18th championship. Here are five things that went wrong in the deciding game. (Click here for a recap of the Celtics’ loss.)

1. The Celtics gave it away - The Celtics were in control. They had the momentum and the confidence to get it done … before they let it all slip away. The Celtics led by 10 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter and had taken away the Lakers biggest weapon. But they began to miss shots and the Lakers were there to grab the rebounds. The C’s scored just three points in the final four minutes of the quarter and only led by four going into the final 12 minutes. The Lakers immediately got within two points seconds into the fourth, while the Celtics did not score for nearly three minutes. Bryant made three free throws to cut the Celtics advantage to one, and banked another two minutes later to give the Lakers the lead. Bryant scored four consecutive points to pull the Lakers ahead by four with 5:22 left, and they never looked back. The Celtics played catch up for the rest of the game as Bryant, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol made critical baskets.

2. Kobe Bryant - The Celtics have battled past superstars the entire postseason, each time prevailing with team basketball. But after defeating Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard, they could not overcome the individual performance of Kobe Bryant. The Celtics held Bryant to just eight points (3-14 FG) in 22 minutes in the first half. When Bryant began to find his rhythm, though, the C’s failed to find an answer. Bryant scored 15 points in the second half, including four straight to tie the game and give the Lakers the lead with less than six minutes left. He finished the night with 23 points. It wasn’t his best offensive performance, but he made the shots when it counted.

3. Rebounding – The Celtics have said the entire series that the team that wins the rebounding war wins the game. On Thursday, they won neither. The Lakers outrebounded the Celtics, 53-40, including 23 offensive boards. This can’t be pinned on the injury of Kendrick Perkins, either. He alone doesn’t account for a 13-rebound differential. The Celtics had players capable of rebounding, but in the end, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant combined for 33 boards while only Paul Pierce rebounded in double-digits for the C’s. Kevin Garnett, who the Celtics desperately needed defensively, grabbed just three rebounds.

4. Ray Allen - His monumental 3-point performance is all but forgotten after Ray Allen’s offensive struggles continued through Game 7. Allen shot just 3-for-14 from the field and scored 13 points. While he deserves credit for playing tough D on Bryant, his lack of production at the basket hurt the Celtics in a situation where they needed everyone scoring at full potential.

5. They Played Lakers Ball - The Celtics dominated the first half by feeding off their fundamentals of tough defense and team basketball. In the second half, however, it became showtime for Bryant and the Lakers. The Celtics failed to put together productive offensive possessions, rushed shots, and attempted forced baskets. In the end, they were forced to put the Lakers at the line, where they were outscored 25-15. They C’s began the season by beating the Cavaliers in Cleveland with Celtics basketball, and ended it by losing to the Lakers in Los Angeles by falling victim to their opponent’s game.

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant
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