Celtics Preparing For One Last Run?



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We always seem to find coach Doc Rivers and his Boston Celtics in this position at the end of a season.

Perhaps it has something to do with the exhausting effort the Celtics put in each and every season, or the grueling emotional fallout from coming up short of their ultimate goal (it’s always championship-or-bust in Boston, even when the rest of us understand that it’s not possible). Rivers always seems spent when the ball stops bouncing, like he’s not sure if he has another season in him, regardless of his contract situation.

The way he and Kevin Garnett acknowledged the end in that Game 6 loss to the New York Knicks last week, it certainly felt like the end of an era was near. But maybe not. Celtics boss Danny Ainge spoke publicly on a radio show in Boston about both Rivers and Garnett coming back for another go at it next season.

They’re both under contract and even with the inevitable changes that are sure to come in the offseason, Ainge is counting on those two franchise pillars to be in place. At least that’s what he said on the radio, as Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com details here:

“Doc is always unsure [about his future],” Ainge said. “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 sorta give him time to unwind and relax, and after a couple of 92s on the golf course, he usually comes back.”

Pressed further on what he believes Rivers will do next season, Ainge added, “I think Doc will be coaching the Boston Celtics.”

Rivers signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension with the Celtics following the 2010-11 season. That hasn’t stopped his name from dancing in rumors about other vacant jobs, and a report by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith suggested there were whispers around the league about a potential deal that could land Rivers, Garnett, and Paul Pierce with the Los Angeles Clippers as part of a blockbuster swap.

Said an amused Ainge: “Hey, listen, those things are silly. Those are a waste of time to even acknowledge.”

Pressed on Smith’s suggestion that there could be lingering friction between Ainge and Rivers, Ainge added, “Well, you’d have to ask Doc what he thinks, but what I think is that I have the best coach in the NBA and I’m not the least bit tired of hearing his voice. We have a great relationship from what I feel, and what I perceive, and so I have no idea where that’s coming from. But it’s certainly not coming from my side of the table.”

Ainge has every reason to support his coach. Rivers has held the Celtics together through some absolutely tumultuous times over the past couple of seasons, given the injuries to both Garnett, Rajon Rondo and others as well as the roster shuffling that has gone on since the Celtics played in The Finals in 2010.

There is a genuine love between Rivers and his veteran leaders. It’s a bond that will be extremely difficult for Ainge to break up. And make no mistake, there will come a time when the remaining nucleus of the Celtics’ championship crew of Garnett, Pierce and Rondo will no longer be a viable unit.

The Celtics’ vets aren’t getting any younger. And even with an influx of youth (Jeff Green and Avery Bradley) and fresh faces (Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford), the playoff load was just too much for Garnett and Pierce to handle without Rondo around to help direct the traffic.

“We need more,” Rivers said. “It’s like that little girl on the commercial said. ‘We need more, we need more because we need more.’ We need more, because we do. The key for us is do you want to take away to get more. And that will be a decision that make … later.”

Rivers is fiercely loyal to the players who have sacrificed for the greater good in Boston. So it won’t be easy for him to part ways with Pierce either, especially with Pierce’s history with the franchise.

“He’s one of the greatest Celtics ever to ever play. He’s done so much for this franchise,” Rivers said. “Listen, we live in a day and time when guys are changing teams like socks. And Paul has chosen to stay here throughout his career, when clearly he had all rights to leave. And he chose to stay here. I have so much respect for him for that. When I first got here we were really rebuilding. Its’s funny, we made the playoffs that first year and I remember telling him that ‘we’re going to change our team and things may not go very well for a year or two.’ And they didn’t. And Paul, he never wavered. I give him that and just an amazing amount of respect. He wanted to get it done here. He made that choice … [where] other guys are running around trying to find it.”

Ainge will ultimately have to make the decision on when the Celtics’ Big 3 era officially comes to an end. Ray Allen‘s departure last summer didn’t do it. Neither did Rondo’s season-ending knee injury nor the deflating end to this season.

If Rivers and Garnett do indeed return, whether Pierce stays on or not, the Celtics are poised to make at least one last run together before the inevitability of it all finally catches up to them.

49 Comments

  1. Bigmatta23 says:

    Tobias Harris on Celtics green…. I can see that being successful

  2. IAMACELTIC says:

    They just need a season wherein everyone is healthy. They even made it to playoffs without Rondo and Sullinger which are keys to win games.

  3. rob says:

    Does everyone here agree that trading away Perk was the biggest blow to this team?

    I think everybody knows Perk isn’t worth the $8M he’s getting in OKC, but he just isn’t suited for the run and gun style of the Thunder. Plus he can’t use his body for screens when his team’s scorers are strictly one-on-one on-the-ball players (KD and Russ).

    When he was wearing green he was the perfect compliment to KG. Bruising, physical, team-oriented defense that saw a lot of lateral movement, help D, and sagging zone. A lot like what the Bulls’ defense looks like now (Thibs was once the C’s defensive coach).

    Ainge sure made a huge mistake in trading him.

    Anyway, no one will want to get Pierce and KG at this stage of their respective careers. And for heaven’s sakes, c’mon. Pierce stuck with this team through it’s toughest times and I don’t ever once recall him in the news asking for a trade. If they both want to retire as a Celtic let them, they deserve it. Legends and future HoF’s IMHO.

    Rondo is the cornerstone of this franchise, like it or not. They need bigs to help with interior D and added offense.

    Josh Smith and everyone else mentioned above (except CP3) is either a known headcase or a cancer in the locker room. If they make trades I’m thinking Ainge will go thorugh the draft and take chances.

    Not a huge fan of Ainge BTW, i just can’t stand the guy. can’t trust him.

    I’m a Laker fan BTW but mad respect to the Truth and KG.

  4. Bert Bronson says:

    It’s clear that the Celtics need to acquire Andre Iguodala and let go of Jason Terry.

  5. Alex says:

    Sign Chris Paul and Dwight Howard then trade Rajon Rondo to James Harden or Paul George
    C – D12
    PF – KG
    SF – The Truth
    SG – Harden/George
    PG – CP3

  6. KR450 says:

    Agree with Guy and Celts 13.

    I think the only major piece missing is a quality centre with decent size, someone who’ll rebound and defend if nothing else. Someone like Al Jefferson would be a good fit in Boston, a much better choice than immature drama queens like Bynum and D12. Add to that the veteran poise of Pierce, KG and Terry, as well as emerging players like Sullinger, Bradley and Green, who had a great second half to the season and will hopefully continue to elevate his game next season, and the C’s still have a group that can match it with the best in the league. Not to mention an All-Start PG named Rondo who will be back next season.

    Health and the resultant inconsistency (especially off the bench) is what shot down the C’s this year. Wholesale changes aren’t necessary. Build around the pieces that are there and fill in the gaps. Emerging players like Green will be able to help limit the minutes the old guard need to play. The suggested Clippers trade is a terrible idea for both franchises, I was glad to see Ainge refer to it as “silly”.

  7. Oz says:

    At least Paul Pierce is one of very very few who remained with this original team and not venture off trying to get a championship, aka Lebron, Bosh, etc. What player these days, can say I won a championship with my one and only team? I have no respect for the players of today, that chop and change teams, just to win a championship. Try doing it with the team that originally drafted you!!! No loyalty what-so-ever!!!

  8. Gillsy says:

    I can see KG playing next year, he still has some in the tank even if he only plays his restricted minutes, against the Knicks KG was averaging around 15 boards a game. While I can see PP being moved on, the more this season went on Green was given a more senior role down the stretch, PP’s role. Don’t be surprised if PP gets traded for someone like Al Jefferson. I can also see Josh Smith signing with the C’s in the off season, it’s been open knowledge he wants to play with Rondo.

  9. Gillsy says:

    Is it just me but the article or Doc mention anything about the Truth returning just KG. Is there something in that.

  10. Celts 13 says:

    Cs finished the season with a .500 record and made the playoffs, all without a point guard. There are like at least 5 teams in each conference that make the playoffs once a decade, but the Cs have the problems eh?

    Cs just need a season where everyone can stay healthy.

  11. Guy says:

    Respect for loyalty, hard work and leadership is important to a team’s ideantity and to the fans.
    Trading Pierce who has been a Celtic in the horrible years before KG and Allen were brought in, and who expressed his will to be a Celtic for life is disrespectfull.
    I think the Celtics should put full rebuilding process on hold and honor their greats instead of hurrying to trade them for fresh meat.

  12. Matt says:

    Anyone saying that they are done is wrong they have a lot left in them. You really have to remember both Rondo and Sullinger were out we could have easily beat the Knicks. And also anyone who says like @jose that the Heat like facing the Celts in the Playoffs is drunk the Celtics almost destroyed them last year I’d put money on the Celts over the Heat and Queen James anyday.

    • Shawn says:

      Not to mention if Jared sulinger comes back healthy he was good in key games coming off the bench and even as a starter.

  13. Tyrone says:

    Another run? like 09 10 11 and 12 ?
    going anywhere with this old punks. Dumb Ainge should trade those 2 old players till he have a chance (if some team want 2 olds).
    Garnett proved that he is done he barely can play 25 minutes and Pierce is awful now. The Clippers and Boston should make this fun trade. At least will be a rebuild for Boston and the clippers will feel like they have the chance to do something better than 1st round.

  14. OMAR says:

    ill tell you what dynasty. 17 nba championships more than any other nba franchise.

  15. john says:

    u dont need 2 champs in a row to be a dynasty @helloworld. it matters how many banners we have.and last time i checked we have 17.good day

  16. bcelts says:

    jared sullinger will be back,,,and hopefully no more injuries for the celts next season

  17. jo1 says:

    In my opinion, PP and KG need retire as Celtics, anything short of this would not sound good going by the effort put in by both in building this team. KG wants to retire a CELTIC, everyone knows that. These people right now doesn’t necessarily play to have another ring, they play for the GREEN. As much as its all about business for the Celtic organization, the opinion of fans like us should be considered.
    Without LOYAL people like you and I,and KG/PP there would be no Celtics.

    Keep these men, nuff said!

  18. Bu says:

    To PM – D12 will destroy the team that acquired him!!! Look at his attitude & demeanor & limited abilities!!!

    PP & KG (especially) upholds the Celtics of culture: Ubuntu, team 1st, D 1st, all the rest will come

    Take away either 1 will risk the Celtics of losing this culture bec even if you’re getting 2 star players back they may not buy in.

    Also, for those who comment Ainge “should hv traded,” don’t u think Ainge is not smart enough to consider all options? will he be emotional to keep players for the pride or whatever? Call up the clips in Youtube to watch PP & KG goes to work. They bring so many intangibles to the floor & in the locker room. Both guys are integral part of making plays & also playing D. PP is underrated for his D but he holds his own even tough he’s clearly slowing down with age. KG has been playing in controlled & less minutes in preservation. If you look at his per 48, & efficiency +/-, this guy can still play like all star. Both guys are cluth shooters. PP made countless game winners & drew fouls……

    Even though both, esp more apparent is Pierce (where he had to play point forward & more minutes since Rondo went down), are slowing down, they are still effective & opponent teams have to respect. Remember Green made a few game winners bec the teams worry too much about KG & PP?

    There are only a handful of younger superstars that are smart, clutch, plays both ends, team 1st. Also hv to worry about the salary cap. So if you are Ainge, the one who has to decide, tell me what you can do to get similar values or at least fair value back that can keep the team culture intact?

    Also, Ainge & Doc never said much about whatever possibilities there are in the market they’ll consider, which is professionally correct. It doesn’t mean they don’t explore. In fact, the Perkins deal was a great one, bringing in a young talent in Green who can learn from KG & PP & potential to be a good scorer & potential to learn play good D & athletic. Perkins was not worthwhile to keep as his value as a center & so called “defensive anchor” is much over blown compare to what he’s going to demand for, & Celtics might not have enough cap room to keep him while chasing other pieces..

    I’m glad to see Doc giving him opporutnities to match up against top forwards to learn how to guard them. He’s moving his feet a lot better & putting good efforts. This really paid off when he played extended minutes & in playoffs.

    The changes need to make is perhaps trade Terry & Lee for a sharp catch & shoot shooter who’s a bit younger, taller & can play D, & a backup true PG. If you look at the league now, teams play the 2 PG + 1 SG combo helps reduce turnovers, create energy & movement. Small ball use intermittently is a very useful tactic. With Sullinger coming back healthy, if Celtics can acquire one other solid rebounding forward / cener, the team is not bad to make a run, as this group has played together & know the system. Integrating a few new players much simpler than last yr when the whole team is new.

  19. me says:

    “…where other guys are running around trying to find [a ring]” yup, Doc just took a swing on Ray Allen A.K.A Judas A.K.A Liar A.K.A Ring chaser

  20. di11on says:

    One player I have wanted to see as a Celtic.. K.Love. Would be a perfect in Boston for rebounding and even shooting. Don’t know how they could acquire him with trades etc… but apparently T’Wolves don’t want to give him a max contract as he’s not a star player or a franchise player?? Mental. Get on it Ainge.

  21. Dean says:

    The Celtics could be really good with Josh Smith, they need a Sixth man at the point guard/shooting guard position as well. Someone like Eric Bledsoe would be ideal but I’d hate to see Pierce or KG leave. The team has a good stockpile of guards and forwards I’d like to see a trade possibly as well.

    • Shawn says:

      If y’all think Howard and josh smith are going to be hawks y’all fooling ya selfs. Houston unloaded millions this past offseason and acquired young stars and productive talents to get Howard to Houston this offseason

  22. celtics fan says:

    The only thing that is needed for the Celtics is a legitimate big man to work with KG, Rondo will be back and ready to lock and load. Just acquire one of the 10 top unrestricted free agents and let it be done.

    • di11on says:

      Agreed. Some great pick ups. Rondo will have a strong say I reckon. Josh Smith, Ellis, Gay (2014), A.Bynum, Mayo, Hickson, Millsap, Jefferson.. all would look good on the Celtics roster. But admittedly would like to see KG & Pierce retire as Celtics, even if it is in 2014.

  23. LAKERSRULE says:

    what dynasty? one championship?

    • NHbleedsGREEN says:

      Good one bro? Are you mad cuz your squad was SUPPOSED to go 73-9 and win the championship this year?
      That’s what I thought.

  24. PM says:

    They waited too long Pierce and KG are done they can’t win anything next year because D12 and CP3 will go to Atlanta and they will destroy all competition including the Heat and whatever retirement team the Celtics throw at them. Hawks will be the next true dynasty

    • Pakyaw says:

      Hawks been in the playoffs for 6 years in a row(longest streak in the east) but they never get better..hawks is a playoff team but default, means that they go to playoffs coz they need 8 teams to play for the playoffs

    • Le2e says:

      Go away atlanta fan, let teh big boys talk. (Big boys have seen past the 2nd round)

  25. ARIEH says:

    YOU DON’T TRADE PLAYERS LIKE GARNETT AND PIERCE WHO ARE STILL AMONG THE BEST AND TRUE FIGTHERS, YOU SURROUND THEM WITH BETTER PLAYERS. THAT’S ALL.

  26. Jenova says:

    acquire JOSH SMITH!!!! he is the key…..

    • ahmed says:

      ya he is the key to turning your team into a ego party, he will influence rondo and turn rondo into more of a punk. No I say just trade and retool through the draft now.

  27. holyspectator says:

    ughm why? yall need some serious key players, big three (pierce/garnett/rondo) and green aint gonna cut it

    • aaaaaa says:

      Green has the potential to be up there with KD and LeBron. He just had open heart surgery a little over a year ago, give him a break. It’s amazing that he’s even alive let alone playing NBA basketball.

  28. gadzmin says:

    They should keep the 12-13 roster and bring back Barbosa. They were good enough this season with such. With rivers, rondo, garnett and pierce retained, I believe they’re still in the poise to make one last playoff run.

  29. Nick says:

    Ainge said for years he would never make the mistake the Celtics did in the early 90s where they were left with nothing when all the greats retired. I think the time has past already for breaking up this team for a better Boston. They should have traded KG and Pierce at the trade deadline. That was the last chance. The future is Rondo, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Terence Williams etc with whatever they can get back for trading the oldies

    • Stu-Brew says:

      Celtics would never trade Paul Pierce, he’s staying a Celtic until he retires.

      • jose says:

        Of Course….till the end of times….By the way , we HEAT fans want them back again : they always make easier our ways to the finals…they weakens big time the eastern conference in our behalf: Give us more Rondo, PP , Garnet and Doc….comon guys, if you ever like the HE AT, do it !!!!!!

      • artifex says:

        What you need is a new go-to-guy before the old one goes. That’s what the Spurs got in Duncan before Robinson left for good (they didn’t win in 01 but in 05). Celtics already got that in Rondo. Bradley and Green are viable additions. What’s the key is the veterans contracts if the players are willing to. If you pay 20 Mio to a mid 30s (or two) its difficult to add a mid 20s at a max deal (or appropriate pay). But a lower vets salary it opens space for rebuild.
        I might be mistaken, but to me both PP and KG are players I’d trust to do that and stay put.

      • TT says:

        Well said. The Jet is old and rusty, the Big Ticket got pounded and discarded into a carton of used tickets and the Truth realized the truth that he is toothless. What a group of has-beens. Pathetic Celtics tradition. Don’t expect them to make the playoffs next season.

  30. Diego says:

    One last run Doc, just one last run….a worthy end to this dynasty

    • HelloWorld says:

      Dynasty?! I dont know what planet are you on to consider the Celtics had a dynasty in recent years.It is definitely an era of revival of Celtics pride, but FAR FAR away from dynasty. You need at least 2 champs in a row to be in the conversations about dynasty.

      • Dan says:

        I agree with hello world the PATS had a dynasty but the celtics just had a resurgence, and like KG i’d swear my blood is green so it does hurt to say. I would just let pierce do what he wants to at this point, the dude stuck with us for a decade of terrible seasons and in my opinion is the 3rd greatest to ever wear the green (behind #6 and #33) if he wants to retire let him, if he wants to stay let him. He is the face of the celtics.

      • NHbleedsGREEN says:

        you may be right about the C’s but I consider the Spurs a dynasty when they won it in 99,01,03 then in 07.
        If you don’t think winning it 3x in 5 years is a dynasty your crazy!

      • JoeCool says:

        HelloWorld…Shut up and go away…

    • Akeem says:

      It’s a walk now. No more run. Go home KG…Talk smack to the couch.