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Your Afternoon Dump..Where Doc Rivers Has A Tough Road Ahead

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

Jackie MacMullan-“Doc Rivers Has Tough Road Ahead

Now comes the tricky part.

There has been no greater Boston sports love affair in recent years than the relationship between Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett, the player who revived the championship culture for a franchise that was once steeped in titles but had lost its way before he bounded onto the scene.

As KG left the parquet Friday night following his team’s Game 6 loss to the New York Knicks, perhaps for the final time, he embraced Rivers and told him, “I love you, man.”

We don’t know if KG is retiring, returning or looking to move on to a reduced role with a contender. He holds all the cards regarding his future, including a no-trade clause that enables him to determine his landing spot.

No team in the NBA’s future hinges so much on the decision of one player this offseason than the Celtics. We do know that as KG stated on Friday night, his final decision will be based on what happens with Paul Pierce. But Pierce’s time in Boston could be done according to Greg Dickerson and a few others. This is an odd time for Celtics fans. We’re used to watching our team in the playoffs in early May. Instead, we’re wondering what the future holds for our beloved franchise and two of it’s key players. But it could be worse-think of what Doc must be going through.

We do know this: The day Garnett leaves Boston, Rivers’ job becomes infinitely more difficult.

Not only does KG demand excellence of himself and his teammates, and not only does he put a premium on defense the way the great Bill Russell once did, and not only was he the most selfless superstar this market has ever seen, but his total trust in Rivers provided the coach with ultimate credibility. KG has had Doc’s back since he came to town, which resonated in a locker room full of divergent — and sometimes conflicting — personalities.

Of course, Doc has done a fine job of building his résumé all on his own by requiring professionalism and accountability from his players without ever embarrassing them, a trait he and old pal Terry Francona both mastered.

Not only has Doc endeared himself to the members of his own roster, but he has managed to maintain a congenial relationship with opposing players as well, a handy benefit when it comes time to troll for free agents.

Doc is a proven players’ coach, a bona fide draw in a market that has never been able to attract free agents. Jason Terry, in fact, said Rivers was the primary reason he chose Boston over other suitors.

And going forward, Rivers being the head coach of the Celtics will certainly be a huge factor in trying to lure free agents to the team. Doc has stated that once the Big 3 era is over, he is willing to be a part of the rebuilding process. I personally believe Doc will be back next year. With some very nice pieces in Rondo, Green and Sullinger coupled with Doc’s undying loyality, I definitely see him on the sidelines of TD Garden next season.

Rivers is a man of his word, and he promised Ainge he would help with the rebuilding process. Whether he completes all three of the years remaining on his deal remains to be seen, but it’s nearly impossible to fathom him walking away at this juncture.

Pressed by a small group of reporters late Friday night, Rivers said his future is not tied to the decisions of Pierce or KG.

Mine is a completely separate thing,” Rivers said. “I’m coming back until I say I’m not.”

Translated: Expect to see Rivers on the sideline next season.

It is unclear who will be there with him. He is in the difficult position of knowing he needs to move on from his beloved veterans but must demonstrate the proper amount of respect and loyalty toward them.

It may behoove the Celtics to hang on to Pierce and Garnett next season until the trade deadline, which is when demand will peak and teams intent on making a splash in the postseason should be willing to give up a little more. If so, it will be imperative for Rivers to limit their playing time to the 20- to 25-minute range.

The rest of the links:

ESPN Boston: Roster Reset |  Globe: Futures Of Pierce, Garnett Big Questions | Herald: Stars Hardly In Alignment   Terry Talks Up Return  Bradley Focuses On Offseason  Jeff Green Dances Around Lead Role  For Pierce, Ball In Ainge’s Court MWDN: Celtics Post-Deadline Playoff Thoughts

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  • Eddie Allen Powe

    If KG does retire, then I’m gonna miss these moments:

  • LA Flake

    I would love to see both KG & PP back in Boston, in lesser roles obviously. And the two players the C’s should target this summer are Al Jefferson and (I’m going to get blasted for this) Andrew Bynum. Bynum makes great sense because he is a dominant center who’d benefit greatly by playing with Rondo. Yeah he was a Laker but Rick Fox and Brian Shaw were Celts before they joined the dark side. And Ray Alle…you know who did a similar move to hell. And Bynum probably wouldn’t mind joining the C’s after the Lakers dumped him in favor of Dwight Howard, another center that should be high on Danny’s wish list.

    • KGino

      Agree with Big Al… Bynum is the new Oden.

      Bringing those 2 back and adding Al Jefferson, I like our chances (if healthy).

    • forever_green

      Can it be done? The switch…from bad to good…(for Bynum or Howard)

  • Please (sign-and-) trade for Al Jefferson! Give up Bradley to do it if you have to. Rondo-SG (Barbosa?)-Green-Sullinger-Jefferson would give us a great starting lineup. Our team would be substantially improved if next year’s bench looks like T Will-Terry-Lee-Pierce-KG. If you can’t compile enough salary in the deal, you might have to give up Pierce which I’m ok with. Some of the most loyal players have ended their careers having played for two separate squads. Obviously it’s preferable if he stays but I honestly think a Rondo-Green-Sully-Jefferson foursome makes us a quasi-contender, and if Ainge can work his magic in the draft/free agency, along with some luck, we could bona fide contenders.

  • Stephanie McGovern

    We need demarcus cousins do a three team trade with clippers sen pierce and kg to LA Dandre Bledsoe some others to kings and we get cousins and a few other players that way pierce and kg can contend for a title there and would make chris Paul stay and we get cousins who if doc could get through to him would be the best center in the league and we’d have extra money to sign another big free agent

    • I bleed green in L.A.

      If we’re sending KG and Paul, let get back Cousins and Bledsoe. Let the kings have DeAndre and pieces.

  • MrCuret

    The Celtics need to move on already. They should amnesty Pierce (another team is going to pick him up so the C’s would only pay a portion of his contract) & use the 15 mil to sign Jefferson, KG will mostly likely retire if Pierce’s gone so they can buy him out to lower the cap. They should also look to trade Terry & Lee for a back up PG (i.e. Bayless, Maynor, Livingston, etc) & a SF (i.e. Cory Brewer, Webster, etc). They have a good young core in Rondo, Bradley, Sullinger & Green. I’d say keep Bass (he played good defense in the playoffs), Randolph (he’s a good hustler & rebounder & can play as the backup center), Williams & Crawford as role players. With PP & KG gone Rondo, Green, Sullinger, etc are going to score more. Besides, they’ve been saying it’s Rondo’s team for the past 2 sesons. Well, give him the keys & let the young guys run the show. We won’t know what they can do unless they’re given the chance to prove themselves.

    • forever_green

      You can’t do those moves, the salary cap doesn’t work like that.

      • MrCuret

        It doesn’t work like what? Read this: Breaking down the Celtics salary cap situation, and why an Al Jefferson return is possible (New Post) The KG buyout was a mistake, but nobody’s perfect.

  • forever_green

    I hope to see them back of course, Doc did a great job of limiting KG’s minutes this year but they clearly need better bigs & scoring off the bench.

    Paul & Kevin need to go recruiting…maybe ask Big Al to come join them or Rondo can go talk to Josh Smith…dare I ask for a Dwightmare or Bynum?…besides that we need changes to the bench.

  • BostonCeltics2008 BostonCeltic

    This was the year of the 5-16 shooting nights 🙁