One thing about getting to the NBA Finals, is that the extended run, the big offseason decisions will come a lot quicker than usual. One of the first dominoes to fall in this department will be Doc Rivers, who joined Dennis and Callahan on WEEI in Boston this morning, addressing his future, Sheed’s retirement talk and a look back at Game 7
Doc On Next Year:
Rivers said he has not decided whether or not he will return to the Celtics next season. “I’m not going to say which way I’m leaning — and I am one way — but I could look you in the eye and tell you I haven’t decided,” he said.
Rivers said he did not discuss the matter with his family during Father’s Day Sunday. “We didn’t talk about it at all, really,” he said. “It’s still very difficult to get through Game 7, let alone talk about your future, to be honest.”
Rivers said the players have been encouraging him to return, which makes him feel great but embarrassed to be in the spotlight. That type of support is the main reason why he would consider returning. Said Rivers, “The only reason you stay is your love for the guys you coach … knowing that if you do leave, you’re not going to get that back.”
CH’s Take: First off, the tone of the interview here was telling….and it shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that Doc, just three days after one of the toughest losses in Celtics history sounds like he’s leaning towards not coming back, fresh off of Father’s Day. That being said, it seems clear that the team is giving Doc a few days here to sit back and evaluate, before putting on their full court press to get him to come back, likely after the draft on Thursday night, when things calm down a bit.
Speaking to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports over the weekend, the former Celtics Globe reporter instituated that ownership may be willing to make some special arrangements for Doc to convince him to come back. Things such as granting him permission to attend his children’s sporting events in place of practices for select dates during the year, which would help keep Doc satisfied he wouldn’t be missing out on too much, while giving him one last run on the Celtics bench.
It’s any interesting proposition, one that I’m sure most, if not all Celtics fans would have a problem with. Whether that is enough of a deal sweetener to convince Doc to come back is another thing altogether.
On Sheed’s Retirement:
Rivers said he expects we’ve seen the last of the controversial center. “I think you have,” he said. “It’s so emotional right after the game. But Rasheed told me before [Game 7]. He told me the the night before. He walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, listen, I’m going to give you everything I’ve got. I really believe this is my last game that I’m going to play.’ And he said this year was very difficult for him physically. He never felt like — even the conditioning part of it hurt. He said he doesn’t think he wants to go through that again, and he wants to watch his kids. I do think it’s the last time we’ll see him in a Celtics uniform.”
CH’s Take: Again, Sheed’s retirement appears to be more of a formality than Doc at this point, from all the talk I’ve been hearing both in and outside of the organization. While some may have pleased upon hearing initial reports of this retirement talk for Sheed, due to the potential salary cap savings it might have for Boston, a closer look shows us that this really won’t help the team at all, besides ownership saving some dough in the luxury tax.
The C’s will still be well over the cap (barring Pierce opting out and leaving) without Sheed’s numbers on the books. That means they still only have the draft, veteran’s minimum salaries and the mid level exception to replace him, along with filling other major holes within the team’s depth. Combine that, with the injury to Kendrick Perkins, which could keep him sidelined well into the 2010-11 regular season, and Sheed’s departure just makes things a heck of a lot more complicated. Danny Ainge will have to pull multiple rabbits out of his hats in the upcoming weeks to keep this front line formidible next year.
For a sneak peak at this year’s big man free agency class, be sure to read Zach Lowe’s here The pickings look pretty old and slim, making me think the Celtics are prime for drafting a big man this week.
Doc On Game 7 Regrets:
Rivers said he’s watched some video of the fourth quarter of Game 7. “I’ve looked at some of it but I couldn’t watch it [all],” he said. “It’s still very difficult.”
The coach said one thing he might have done differently is to get Rondo some rest at the start of the fourth. “I think I should have given Rondo another blow,” Rivers said. “I thought he was tired. I thought he played that way in the fourth. And that was a tough one, because he was starting to play well at the end of the third, so it was tough to pull him out.”
Rivers also said he wished the team would have attacked the post more, although he noted that some post plays were called, and Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace both were tiring. “You could just feel that we were running out of gas,” he said.
CH’s Take: Doc and I appeared to be on the same page with wishing he let the bench play more talk. Here’s what I wrote Friday afternoon:
A part of me wondered what would have happened though if Nate was given some leash? Remember Game 2 when he came in for Rondo at the start of the 4th and scored 7 quick points, while allowing a rested Rondo to come in and take over the final stretch of that game? Not having that possibility hurt last night.
This is why Doc was such a tremendous coach this year. Even when he maybe does something wrong (and you really can’t fault him for NOT resting Rondo in the 4th there, especially after the way the bench played in game 6) he comes out and admits it afterwards. The guy just couldn’t miss in these final three months of the season, pushing all the right buttons, before riding his horses too long during the final hurrah.
Putting all of this together, the front office, between the NBA draft, free agency, and trying to convince these guys to return are a busy few weeks here to try to piece together a squad that can make one last run. I have faith Danny can do it, but it won’t be easy.