Celtics

Ainge, Rivers begin talks about new contract

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Ainge, Rivers begin talks about new contract

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON You'd be hard-pressed to find any one with ties to the NBA that is looking forward to this summer, and a potential lockout on the horizon.

For the Boston Celtics, a delay in the start of the season might actually work to their advantage in retaining a prized free agent - head coach Doc Rivers.

Rivers, whose contract expires at the end of this season, has made no secret about wanting to spend more time with his family.

If there is a lockout and the season is delayed, that may very well be enough to allow Rivers to spend additional time with his family, and still return as the Celtics' head coach.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has had multiple talks with Rivers throughout this season about re-signing with the C's.

Rivers has been consistent, Ainge said, in wanting to put off his contract situation until the season is over.

"He would much rather the focus now be on the players and our goal, which is to win a championship," Ainge told CSNNE.com. "And not so much on his contract and his future."

But Ainge knows he wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't gauge Rivers' interest in returning, or making sure Rivers understands that he is still a coveted member of the Celtics family.

"Doc knows how I feel," said Ainge. "I'm doing all I can to keep Doc around for as long as possible."

And while a lockout will certainly not be in the best interest of the league, Ainge acknowledges that it may become a factor Rivers weighs in deciding whether to return.

"I don't believe Doc is necessarily looking forward to being a coaching free agent this summer," Ainge said. "I really do believe he'll be trying to decide whether to come back to Boston, or take some time off, maybe a year or two, and do some other things."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

The solution for Celtics? Play better down the stretch

The solution for Celtics? Play better down the stretch

BOSTON – If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Brad Stevens in his time as Celtics coach, it’s that he’s not about that sugarcoating life.
 
When it comes to his team, he’s about as transparent a coach as you will find in the NBA.

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So, when he says his team has been outplayed in both of its first two games, he’s not doing it as some stealth rallying cry.
 
He’s doing it because it’s where they are at this moment.
 
“So, whatever that’s attributable to, we’ve got to fix it, we’ve got to be better at it, regardless of when it is,” Stevens said.
 
Boston will get another crack at it on Friday night against a Philadelphia squad that, like the Celtics, is also searching for its first win of the season.
 
Struggling to win games is something the Sixers have grown accustomed to in recent years.
 
But the Celtics have been on an upward trajectory every year under Stevens’ watch. And while it’s far too soon to panic over their start, players understand that change must come about soon if they are to get on the right track and have the kind of season they envision for themselves as a group.
 
“Brad’s right, we have a lot of plays to clean up and a lot of stuff to get better at, but that’s’ the beauty of it,” said Jaylen Brown. “We got a really good group and a lot of young guys – we’re going to move forward and take that challenge. We’re going to win some games; we’re going to win a lot of games here in Boston.”
 
But doing so won’t be easy, not with the Celtics still trying to find the best way to move forward following Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that may keep him out for the remainder of this season.
 
The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter of both losses before eventually failing to make the necessary plays down the stretch to ensure victory.
 
Some of that has to do with the unfamiliarity - not a surprise when you add 10 new players to the mix in one offseason. Another contributing factor is, because of injuries, there are players elevated to more prominent roles who were otherwise seen as simply depth additions at the end of the bench.
 
Whatever the reasons may be, the bottom line is clear: the Celtics have played two games where they were outplayed enough to lose. 
 
“I don’t want to make the excuse that we’re a young team, but we are,” said Kyrie Irving. “We have some experience here and we have to utilize that and continue to exude confidence in young guys and ourselves and understand the game comes in waves. There are going to be ups and downs. We have to be able to withstand other team’s runs as well as hit back and have that hit-first mentality in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter. Once we start understanding we have to put a complete game together, myself being at the head of the ball and being better with it and putting guys in the right spots, we’ll be fine.”

Agent says Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season

Agent says Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season

Hopes that the Celtics would have Gordon Hayward back in the lineup later this year were dashed last night by Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein.

Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night for a fractured and dislocated left tibia, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens had said earlier in the day that Hayward's prognosis would be better known after doctors saw the extent of the damage. When the operation was over, Bartelstein told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski not to expect Hayward to play again this season.

But there is good news:

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“We’re expecting this to be a full recovery,” Stevens had said earlier. “No timeline on it, but a full recovery.”

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