Tag:Boston Celtics
Posted on: June 1, 2011 7:15 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 7:19 pm
 

David Stern on Shaquille O'Neal: 'He's a giant'

NBA Commissioner David Stern, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss react to the retirement of Shaquille O'Neal. Posted by Ben Golliver.

shaq-stern

On Wednesday, longtime NBA center Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement. Within hours, the league's top executive and the owners of the two franchises he won titles for were already singing his praises.

CBSSports.com's Ken Bergers reports from Miami that NBA commissioner David Stern credits O'Neal with nothing less than the rise of the sport as a whole. "If you’ve come of age with the NBA, you haven’t known an NBA without Shaq," Stern said. "You’ve known just an incredible, incredible athlete and competitor, and you’ve known somebody who, with his sense of humor and his presence, has helped to grow our game tremendously."

Stern said that O'Neal will be remembered not only for his Hall of Fame career but also for his engaging personality. O'Neal's legacy, Stern said, is "that you can be a terrific competitor and you can do it for a very long period of time. And as difficult as it is sometimes, you can retain your sense of humor. Shaq has always maintained his sense of humor."

There will be no replacement for O'Neal, Stern said. "He’s a giant. He’s physically imposing, he has an imposing smile. In the game, he imposed his will, and he has done it for quite a long time. It’s been a great run and we’re going to miss him greatly and we hope we can find ways to keep him involved in the game."

Heat owner Micky Arison also sang O'Neal's praises, crediting the center with helping the team win its only title, in 2006. "Obviously, he means a championship," Arison said. "He was great to be around. Loved having him on the team. Had an incredible sense of humor, incredible sense of marketing – both marketing himself and marketing the game. He was a joy to be around and the league is going to miss him."

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Lakers owner Jerry Buss shared Arison's sentiments, saying he would remember O'Neal both for his on-court and off-court contributions. "Shaq had a long and amazing career," Buss said. "A huge impact both on and off the court.  His contributions were significant to the entire NBA, but we specifically appreciate what he did with and what he meant to the Lakers during his eight years with us. We have three championships that we wouldn’t have won without him, and we will forever be grateful for his significant contributions to those teams."

As for Shaq's next step? Arison suggests the personable O'Neal consider a second career in television broadcasting.

"I definitely think he should take Charles Barkley’s job," Arison quipped. Barkley has been an outspoken critic of the Heat, who are on the verge of winning an NBA title, in recent months.

Posted on: June 1, 2011 5:25 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Shaq Retires: The Life and Times of the MDE




Posted by Matt Moore

Most Dominant Ever.

How does one have the gall to call themselves that? To declare to the world that in the NBA's long history of great big men, you are the one that exerts his will the most, that takes some serious guts. And a body big enough to hold them.

Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement Wednesday after a 19-year career that saw him win four NBA titles, the MVP award, three Finals MVP awards, and 15, count 'em 15 All-Star selections. He was the first truly "fun" big guy, the first big to really cross over into popular culture (if you don't count Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's turn in "Airplane"), doing movies, reality shows, and even a 311 video. But it was always his work on the floor that put him at the top of everyone's mind.

O'Neal was the first big to challenge the idea that weight was an offensive hindrance. A literal giant who gained more and more bulk as his career wore on, O'Neal's greatest asset was often his backside. O'Neal's humongous rump was what allowed him to bully his way to the basket during the Lakers' early 00's run of championships, paving the way for his startling efficiency. But it wasn't always like that. Back in the day, Shaq was just a kid in Orlando, loving life and dunking on everyone.

Magic Time: Young and in love (with the rim)

O'Neal took the league by storm in 1993. A big man who could run the floor, who moved with speed, he was at his athletic best. His rookie season he averaged 24-14 with 3.5 blocks per game. It was like nothing anyone had seen before. There had been other big men, to be sure. This was the time of Hakeem Olajuwon, who would go on to teach Shaq about the value of footwork later. But in the beginning, he was just a lovable kid, making the most out of being literally the biggest star in the world. And while his agility and athleticism were breathtaking, he was still strong as an ox. Observe:



That's just bananas. We freak out now over Dwight Howard dunking on toy rims wearing a cape. O'Neal was physically tearing down the basket as a youngster in Orlando. It was there that O'Neal started to recognize his own potential as a media star as well. He starred in Blue Chips with Nick Nolte, which began a long, and often painful for the rest of us, movie career. And he became one of the top players in the game, almost immediately. If it took us a decade to recognize how truly great Olajuwon was, we did not miss the boat with Shaq. You couldn't. If you tried, he'd remind you, often by dunking on your head.

But O'Neal also went through what so many stars today experience, what drove them to the decisions they're so often criticized for. O'Neal lost to Hakeem's Rockets and Jordan's Bulls. He wanted a bigger stage, and he had no reservations about going out and getting it. So he went to the Lakers in 1997, leaving a franchise in ruin.

There was no outcry nationally, he was not booed everywhere he went, he was not vilified. Nationally, people were just excited the Lakers were relevant again, even if it meant sending Orlando back down to the sewers. And it was in Los Angeles that O'Neal earned that MDE nickname he would later give himself.

Gone Hollywood

Shaq: The Legacy
Stats (All-Time List)
  • Games: 1,207 (23rd)
  • Minutes: 41,918 (17th)
  • Points: 28,596 (5th)
  • Rebounds: 13,099 (12th)
  • Blocks: 2,732 (7th)
Accomplishments
  • First overall pick, 1992 Draft
  • Rookie of the Year, 1992-93
  • NBA MVP, 1999-00
  • Four NBA Championships
  • 15-time NBA All-Star
  • 3-time NBA Finals MVP
  • 2-time NBA Scoring Champion
  • Career Salary: $292,198,327
29.7 points. 13.6 rebounds. 3.8 assists. 3.0 blocks. That was O'Neal's statline in 2000 when he shot 57 percent from the field and come out with a 30.6 PER. Those are just numbers. But they give an indication of how unstoppable O'Neal was with the Lakers. The later Lakers are reconsidered now as more Kobe's team than they were. It was the big man who set up everything. The weight O'Neal gained only seemed to make him that much harder to guard. You couldn't front him, too tall. You couldn't try and muscle him off, too strong. And if you did manage to keep your position, work him to the middle, and force a shot and not a dunk? He had the drop step hook Howard dreams of in his sleep.

In that Golden Era at the turn of the century, O'Neal changed the course of franchise history, bringing the Lakers back to prominence and all the glory that goes with it. The Lakers were unstoppable in that stretch. It wasn't like the modern Lakers team that fights with top notch opponents and manages to win more than they lose. They were the predominant force of that era and it was mostly because of Shaq. Bryant came on later and did his damage, certainly contributing. But O'Neal at this point was just such a behemoth. There was nothing to be done.

Dominant is phrased so often as just "best." Or "most impressive." The reason O'Neal's terminology of that fits during this era of his career is that he was able to exert his will on anyone. There was no one who could stop him. Certainly not Erick Dampier or Shawn Bradley or a Bradley tank. He would park that gigantic butt of his into an opponent, send them staggering back a foot, back in, and either gently slide it over the rim or hammer it down, leaving nothing but a whoosh in his wake.

You could see the body start to slip a bit as O'Neal struggled with weight control. He played 74 games in 2001, and wouldn't hit over 70 games again until 2005. But that stretch of years also defined the best of his career. Three championships, an MVP, and a place among the all-time Laker greats, even if it would be forgotten in the bitterness to come. Oh, yeah, and he did this:



Helping Flash

The meltdown of the 2004 Lakers against the Pistons changed everything. Shaq's ego had only gotten bigger with his success. Kobe Bryant felt he was the star. Phil Jackson had had enough of all of it, and the team blew up the championship core, sending Shaq to Miami for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, and pieces. Shaq joined an up-and-coming Heat team that would have likely slowly contended for a title year after year with young talent. But Pat Riley is not a man of patience. He saw the MDE was available. He went out and got him.

In Miami, questions were rampant about how O'Neal and Wade would co-exist, how the two would work together, who the man was. O'Neal responded to the criticisms of his ego and conditioning by playing 73 games, scoring 22 points per game with 10 rebounds. The next year he played only 59, but it was enough to get the Heat into the playoffs, where they made an unlikely run that netted O'Neal his fourth championship. This two-year era (before the physical meltdown in 2007) is overlooked most times in favor of his L.A. days, but O'Neal wasn't just a scorer, defender, and partner for Wade in this championship run. He was a mentor, and a locker room leader. O'Neal showed that you can be bombastic, arrogant even, and still be a leader of men.

This was the last time O'Neal was truly relevant.

Self-exile to the Valley

In 2008, with O'Neal clearly on the decline, unable to stay healthy for any significant stretch, and boasting a roster of athletic talent that could run the floor and keep the ball constantly in motion for Mike D'Antoni's offense, Steve Kerr made a terrible decision. He traded for Shaquille O'Neal, cashing in his biggest bargaining chip, Shawn Marion's expiring contract. O'Neal made big claims about winning championships when he's angry for Phoenix, and he was supposed to bring the defense necessary to win a championship alongside Steve Nash. Except that it was very much like giving a fish a bicycle. A big, flashy bicycle with one busted wheel.

O'Neal couldn't stay on the floor. The trade was a disaster, and wasted the last years of Steve Nash's prime because of Kerr's bravado. But O'Neal kept developing, staying popular by embracing Twitter and becoming even more of a goof. He was lovable. He was huge. He didn't play much, but he was still awesome. Like when he pulled this out at the 2009 All-Star Game:




Even big men fade away

O'Neal joined Cleveland via trade in 2010. The final piece to the LeBron championship puzzle, part 5,453 (copyright Danny Ferry 2010). But it was simply over. O'Neal couldn't stay healthy -- who can at that age with that amount of wear and tear? -- and he watched with disgust as his teammates were unable to help him or LeBron against Boston. O'Neal was actually one of the most effective players for the Cavs against the Celtics, but it wasn't enough. So O'Neal got the idea that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

O'Neal joining the Celtics was supposed to change things for his career. It would allow him to win one more than Kobe Bryant, one more than Tim Duncan, to go out with five rings and contribute to a team supposedly as tough as he is. But again, the body just couldn't sustain.

It is a harsh reality that this is what happens, as unfortunate as it is unavoidable.

But O'Neal's legacy won't be tarnished by those final years in Cleveland and Boston the way Allen Iverson's sad decline hampered his. For one, the four titles help. For another, O'Neal always carried himself with respect, even if he lacked it for others (like, oh, say, Kobe Bryant as in his famous rap). For another, nothing can take away his cultural or performance legacy.

Talk to guys who played against him and they groan trying to explain what it was like to guard him. Talk to kids who watched him destroy everything in his path from backboards to Shawn Bradley to Erick Dampier. Talk to reporters who covered his quotes, analysts who watched his dunks, anyone, everyone knows who Shaq was and what his imprint on the game was.

He walks away now, and though he might not be the best big man of all time, given the mark he left on the NBA and how he continues to make his mark on global culture, he's still the Most Dominant Ever.



Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 8:57 pm
 

Shaquille O'Neal tweets: 'I'm retiring'

Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal says that he is retiring on Twitter. Posted by Ben Golliver

Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal, long the oversized center of the NBA's attention, posted a simple message on Twitter on Wednesday: "im retiring."

That message included a link to a video in which O'Neal, seated at an office desk, addresses a camera. "We did it," O'Neal says smiling. "Nineteen years, baby. I want to thank you very much. That's why I'm telling you first that I'm about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon."

Here's the video via YouTube user zeblowtorch. (Hat tip: The Basketball Jones.)



O'Neal, who is 39 years old, saw his 2010-2011 campaign with the Boston Celtics marred by injuries. He played in just 37 games, averaging a career-low 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds. Hobbled by an Achilles injury, O'Neal was able to play just 12 minutes in the NBA playoffs and the Celtics were bounced in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Miami Heat.

Shaq: The Legacy
Stats (All-Time List)
  • Games: 1,207 (23rd)
  • Minutes: 41,918 (17th)
  • Points: 28,596 (5th)
  • Rebounds: 13,099 (12th)
  • Blocks: 2,732 (7th)
Accomplishments
  • First overall pick, 1992 Draft
  • Rookie of the Year, 1992-93
  • NBA MVP, 1999-00
  • Four NBA Championships
  • 15-time NBA All-Star
  • 3-time NBA Finals MVP
  • 2-time NBA Scoring Champion
  • Career Salary: $292,198,327

A spokesperson for the Celtics said O'Neal had not yet informed the franchise about his plans to retire. "To my knowledge, he has not informed any of us that he's retiring," Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss told the Associated Press. O'Neal had a player option for the 2011-2012 season worth $1.4 million which he will forego if and when he files his official retirement papers with the NBA. Roughly two weeks ago, O'Neal's mother predicted that he would return to play for Boston next season.
 
O'Neal's career accomplishments make him a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer. A 15-time All-Star, 4-time NBA champion and the 1999-2000 MVP, O'Neal was perhaps the most physically dominant center the game has ever seen.

The Associated Press sums up his career arc nicely.
One of the most charismatic players in NBA history, O'Neal was a franchise-saver when the Orlando Magic made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 draft. He took them from the lottery to the playoffs in two years, and then led them to the NBA Finals in his third year before they were swept by the Houston Rockets.

O'Neal, 39, signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 and had his greatest success there, winning three titles alongside Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson. But amid tension between O'Neal and Bryant over credit for the team's success, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2004, fresh off a loss to the Detroit Pistons in the Finals.

After 3 1/2 years in Miami, a tenure that included his fourth NBA championship, O'Neal became a veteran-for-hire, moving to Phoenix and then Cleveland and finally Boston. But he couldn't deliver another title for Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire with the Suns, with LeBron James with the Cavaliers or with the Celtics' Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

At each stop, he endeared himself to the fans and his new teammates with his effervescent smile and playful attitude, including the habit of adopting a new nickname that he felt embodied his role with his new team. In Phoenix he was the "Big Shaqtus"; in Boston, the "Big Shamroq."
O'Neal leaves the game as the NBA's No. 5 all-time scorer, No. 12 all-time rebounder and No. 7 all-time in blocks. His career field goal percentage of 58.2 percent ranks him second all-time. His career averages: 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Shaq's Mom: 'He's going back to Boston'

The mother of Shaquille O'Neal believes her son will not retire and will play for the Boston Celtics next season. Posted by Ben Golliver. shaq-is-fat

Shaquille O'Neal was the Big Disappointment rather than the Big Diesel for the Boston Celtics this season. At 39 years old, O'Neal simply couldn't get healthy or stay healthy for the Celtics, who bowed out in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Anyone who watched an out-of-shape O'Neal laboring up and down the court -- able to play just 17 minutes combined since Feb. 1 -- couldn't help but conclude this was the end of the road for the future first ballot Hall of Famer. O'Neal has been in a steady decline, posting career-lows in points (9.2) and rebounds (4.8) in 2010-2011, and that trend isn't like to reverse.

Of course, there's the matter of his contract. O'Neal has a player option for $1.4 million next season. While the Celtics aren't sure whether or not he will return, O'Neal mother, Lucille, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that she thinks he will give it another go.
“He went there to help them win a championship, and they didn’t do that this year,’’ Lucille said. “It bothered him so much that he could not play. He felt like he let the Boston team down and the community down, so I could believe he’s going back to Boston. He’s not in a place to be traded or anything like that.’’

Lucille added O’Neal hasn’t indicated to her what he plans to do.

“I don’t know because Shaquille has got such passion for the game,’’ Lucille said. “(Retirement) we’ve always told him that’s up to him. Whatever decision he makes, we’re still going to be behind him 100 percent.’’
The worst case scenario for next season is ... welll... it would look a lot like this season. A string of injuries, a bunch of charitable donations and a larger-than-life personality that's great for the game as a whole. That's not too bad but it doesn't do much for Boston's title dreams.

A best case scenario? The Celtics manage his minutes better, he drops a ton of weight and he can be an impact player during a playoff run. That'd be awesome, but don't hold your breath. 
Category: NBA
Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:41 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Celtics coach Doc Rivers undergoes throat surgery

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is set to undergo throat surgery. Posted by Ben Golliver. doc-rivers

What a week for Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. First, he signs a five-year contract extension for a price, $35 million, that could take your breath away. 

Then, Rivers is set to undergo throat surgery on Tuesday to remove a growth, a procedure that will temporarily take away his voice, reports the Boston Herald.
Doc Rivers will have surgery today to remove a non-cancerous growth from his throat, and he won’t be able to talk for two weeks.

“My wife will be the happiest person in the room about that,” the Celtics [team stats] coach said after arriving in Boston, now his professional home for at least another five years thanks to the $35 million contract extension he signed yesterday.
Other than the temporary voice loss, it sounds like everything will be A-OK for Rivers.

That's great news, because ESPNBoston.com reports that the surgery marks the end of a somewhat scary episode for Rivers, who had a biopsy on his throat all the way back in October.
After those test results initially came back negative, Rivers joked about the scare.

"I'm going to be around for a little while, it looks like," Rivers said in October. "I'm sure that disappoints everyone."
Rivers just completed his seventh year as coach of the Celtics. His career coaching record is 507-406.
Category: NBA
Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: May 14, 2011 9:55 pm
 

What's At Stake: Carlos Boozer

What's at stake for Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer in the Eastern Conference finals? Posted by Ben Golliver.



The one good thing about having your reputation ruined when the world thinks you double-crossed a blind man during public contract negotiations is that you have nowhere to go but up. Sure, everyone looks at you sideways and cracks jokes at your expense, but the pressure to be perfect and the expectation that you’ll rise to the moment in big situations is lifted. That’s not a trade-off most people would make, but once it happens things could be worse.

That’s been the situation for Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer. For the past four years, Boozer put up solid playoff numbers for the Utah Jazz, teaming up with Deron Williams to advance out of the first round three times. Never really seen as the centerpiece, Boozer nevertheless averaged roughly a 20/12 over his playoff career in Utah, numbers that are mostly forgotten because they came with the help of an elite point guard and, frankly, because they took place for a small market team.    

Eastern Conference Finals: Heat vs. Bulls

After joining the Bulls this past summer, Boozer got a taste of the big-city spotlight and it hasn’t gone over perfectly. He broke his hand mysteriously before the season, forcing him to miss 20 games, and has battled turf toe during the playoffs. His playoff numbers scoring number is way down – he’s averaging just 11.8 points per game while playing roughly the same number of minutes as he did during the regular season. Despite the fact that he continues to keep his rebounding near double figures, he’s a running punch line and punching bag for Bulls fans, who obviously expected more from their $80 million man.

Whether he actually views it this way or not, Boozer should approach the Eastern Conference finals as if he has nothing to lose. If the Bulls are eliminated he will be at or near the top of the scapegoat list regardless of how he plays. That much has already been cemented. Should the Bulls win, however, he’s got a chance to soak in some of the Derrick Rose media glow sunshine and rehabilitate/recast himself as a hard-working veteran who hung around long enough and played his game long enough to get his shot at a ring. That’s not a bad trade-off.

Even better, Boozer isn’t enough the most highly-paid, disappointing and unreliable power forward in this series. That honor goes to Heat forward Chris Bosh, of course, who will be crucified and buried should Miami not advance. Boozer should have a physicality advantage and he certainly has a more physical frontline surrounding him. Bosh enters the series with a tougher personal assignment given Miami’s thin center rotation and the Chicago’s commitment to hard-nosed defense and rebounding.

So what’s at stake for Boozer here? Given that this is Chicago’s first playoff run together and doubts are already high, he just doesn’t have much to lose. If he throws together a big series, the United Center fans that were booing him earlier during the playoffs will surely rally around him. If not, he was the bad guy anyway.

Posted on: May 13, 2011 8:07 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 9:54 pm
 

What's At Stake: LeBron James

What's at stake for Miami Heat forward LeBron James in the Eastern Conference finals? Posted by Ben Golliver.




What’s at stake for LeBron James in the Eastern Conference finals? Only the world, Chico, and everything in it.

James played two of the best minutes the NBA has ever seen to eliminate the Boston Celtics, stopping only long enough to kneel on the court, to take a moment to appreciate all that he had accomplished in overcoming his bitter rivals. The only problem, of course, is that he is still just halfway to a title. Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls are capable of evaporating everything James has earned in the past 48 hours – confidence, peace of mind, a feeling of accomplishment, validation for his decision to leave Cleveland, a rush of popularity – by defeating the Heat. If James doesn’t emerge from this summer with a ring, he’ll be back at square one, hearing the same old boos and answering the same old questions he dealt with all season long.

This all-or-nothing conundrum probably isn’t fair to James but he should be used to it by now. He has demanded attention since he was in high school. He has ascended to the pinnacle of his sport, the undisputed best all-around player in the NBA. He’s even made it to the Finals before. None of that has mattered to his critics. And, we came to find out last summer, to him either.

Winning his first championship -- with others to follow -- was his stated goal. He’s reiterated multiple times over the past week that the Celtics helped inspire his decision to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He couldn’t beat Boston alone, he admitted. Securing the best shot to climb the mountain won out over hometown loyalty, the biggest paycheck and any other factors. That’s the narrative he’s crafted, that's the script he's reading from.

Eastern Conference Finals: Heat vs. Bulls

The Heat envision themselves as the future of the NBA, the axis that everyone else spins around, the epicenter of both cool and success, a dynasty in the making. In James' mind, he's the protagonist always.

A loss to the Bulls, then, would amount to an identity crisis. Being beaten by a team with just one All-Star? A team that had won one playoff series in the past 12 seasons combined? It would be not only an embarrassment but also worrisome. Chicago’s core is set in place for the foreseeable future. Their coach is one of the most widely respected in the game. They’re deep, disciplined and hard-working. They’ve got big city cachet and an instant likeability among both casual fans and basketball purists. The Heat would be set back, back to being the villains, back to being the foils. 

Wade already has a ring to console himself. Bosh has admitted to being in a bit over his head already during the playoffs, so he would be able to rationalize away such a loss. Coach Erik Spoelstra has demonstrated an ability to maintain a long-term perspective through adversity, so he’d be alright in the event of a loss too. He would beat himself up but then realize that there are plenty more opportunities ahead. Pat Riley has so much hardware and such a great tan nothing really matters at this point of his career, at least not comparatively.

But James? James would be out of excuses for another year. Left to walk off the court in defeat, his team’s roster-building ability in the hands of the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, his reputation as a player that can’t get it done extended for at least another 12 months. Self-doubt would be back in a big way, the team's top-heavy approach would be questioned, he would have to hit the recruiting trail hard, hoping that the league's elder statesmen could be convinced to sign up at the minimum salary to help him win his ring. Would James have the stomach for all that? The patience? The composure?

james-dunk-celtics 

He’s been the best player in this year’s playoffs, averaging 26.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals while playing more than 43 minutes a night. He’s been clutch. He’s been steady. He’s even been newly flexible, allowing Wade to carry the load when he has it going. He’s shown an admirable commitment to the boards. His level of focus this year is as laser-like as we’ve ever seen, his intensity the exact opposite of what it was a year ago. 

To imagine all of those things wiped away by four losses, just as the vast majority of his previous playoff heroics have been forgotten because he hasn’t secured a title, is a difficult proposition so soon after the triumph over Boston. But that’s what happens if the Bulls win. The pendulum swings that hard. It's happened before, and it’s inevitable.

This might not be his best shot and it certainly won't be his last shot. But, given the remaining teams left in the field, this is a very, very, very good shot. Once Game 1 tips, he, more than anyone else, will be expected to deliver. 

And that’s why the Eastern Conference finals – and the NBA Finals too -- mean more to James than anyone else. His career, reputation, personality and trajectory are subject to a total redefinition and reevaluation with eight more wins. That's why James has the most at stake. Nobody else is a close second.

Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:52 am
Edited on: May 13, 2011 12:19 pm
 

Doc Rivers, Celtics agree to 5-year deal

Report: Doc Rivers agrees to five-year deal with Boston Celtics to remain head coach.

Posted by Matt Moore


Update 12:09 p.m. EST: Yahoo! Sports reports and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirms that the deal is five-years, $35 million. That's quite a bit, but Doc is worth every penny.  Berger reports this is the same deal that's been on the table for months. 

Original report: CSN is reporting Friday morning that the Boston Celtics have agreed to a new five-year deal with Doc Rivers to remain head coach.

Rivers said following Boston's Game 5 loss to the Heat that he was looking to remain a Celtic, and reports published Thursday indicated a long-term deal like this was in the works. 

It's a curious decision for Rivers, considering his son's imminent enrollment at Duke, and after it took such hand-wringing to convince him to return last year. Rivers was close to walking away after the Celtics' last run fell short, and there's little to indicate the Celtics' odds at a championship will improve, considering their age and cap situation, unless Danny Ainge gets really inventive really quickly.

But sometimes it's not about just your odds at a championship, and Rivers has obviously grown strong connections to the city, the franchise, and especially to its players. Doc will keep roaming the sidelines for a few more years, it seems. 


We'll have more updates as this story develops.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com