|What Paul Pierce’s opt out means for the Celtics||06.29.10 at 11:28 pm ET|
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.
|Mannix on D&C: ‘I don’t see’ Ainge leaving for Phoenix||06.22.10 at 10:20 am ET|
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 »
|Ray: ‘One of the hardest feelings of my lifetime’||06.18.10 at 2:40 am ET|
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.”
|5 Things that Went Wrong in Game 7||at 12:07 am ET|
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.
|Celtics video: Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo||06.17.10 at 7:57 am ET|
|Ray shoulders blame for Game 6||06.16.10 at 8:40 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — Ray Allen took the blame for the bench not scoring a single point through three quarters on Tuesday in an 89-67 loss to the Lakers in Game 6 at Staples Center. The Celtics‘ bench was outscored 24-0 through three periods as the Lakers built a 25-point lead.
That was some readily evident in Wednesday’s film session before practice in Los Angeles.
“A lot of missing and a lot of everything,” Allen said. “Just offensively, we’ve had this conversation before about the ball being stuck. We didn’t make the extra pass. It sucks, too, because we talk about this a lot in the aftermath of our losses. We saw it on film.
“You’re talking about the first quarter. We didn’t set a good trend. And talking about what our bench didn’t do, I take sole credit in the starting five for that because as the starters we didn’t set a good precedent. It’s on us me, Rondo, Kevin, Paul sitting right there, that’s the guys. You can look around at the guys coming off the bench or our coaching staff, but we’ve got to start the game on parallel, like getting back on defense, moving the ball on offense. Those are things that we have to do. Regardless of what plays are called, that’s the way it’s got to be for [Thursday’s] game.
Desperation along with other emotions are on the line now.
” I think it’s a whole bunch of those emotions that you throw in the pot and mix them around,” Allen said. “As a team, as individuals, I don’t want to be sitting around in July having to ask myself, did I do everything that I could have done? Have any regrets? I don’t want to be that person. I want to do everything I can to leave it all on the floor.”
|C’s veterans call a meeting||at 2:50 am ET|
LOS ANGELES — In the late moments of Game 6, the television cameras caught a glimpse of a conversation on the Celtics bench between their veteran players. That conversation carried over to the locker room and while the details are murky, the point was clear.
“We take complete responsibility,” Ray Allen said. “We just put us in a hole early. It affects our bench. We didn’t give them any great rhythm, any great chemistry. I think we talked about our defense and how we allowed so many points, but I think it stemmed from the offense because we didn’t make the extra pass. Each individual tried to make the home run play early.”
Oddly enough, the veterans finally put together solid shooting nights in the same game. Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined to go 19-for-42 and score 44 points. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider the rest of the team shot 9-for-42 and scored just 23, they accounted for a sizable portion of the Celtics limited production.
All the veterans know that this may be their final chance at winning another ring, and given the uncertainty surrounding the summer, it may be their final chance together in the same uniform.
Pierce said he was keeping the conversation in-house, while Garnett said it was nothing. But one thing is certain: They don’t want to go out like they did in Game 6.
“As a unit, starting unit, we take responsibility,” Allen said. “We have to do a better job for next game.”
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