Yahoo! – Celtics as we know it could be done
LOS ANGELES – Three NBA officials stood in the Boston Celtics’ tunnel, each clutching large pieces of luggage with heavy airline tags hanging from them. Inside the bags were special 2010 commemorative championship Celtics hats and T-shirts. As soon as time ran out on the Celtics’ 83-79 Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals on Thursday night, they took off running with the bags.
Seconds later, Kevin Garnett(notes) walked down the same tunnel in a daze with his Celtics teammates. A fan taunted Garnett, saying, ”Anything is possible,” mimicking what he exclaimed in 2008 when the Celtics beat the Lakers in the Finals.
One possibility lingers for these Celtics: they won’t be the same group anymore.
Start with their head coach Doc Rivers. He left the Staples Center floor knowing that it could’ve been his last game with the franchise. The 48-year-old is considering leaving the Celtics and returning to Orlando, Fla., so he can spend more time with his four children, who are successful high school and college athletes. Rivers said he has no timeframe on a decision, but plans on attending the team’s summer league games next month in Orlando.
As Rivers got closer to the locker room, he gasped, dipped his head and was engulfed by emotions as co-owner Bob Epstein put his arm around him for comfort. Tears streamed down Rivers’ face, much like his players.
Said Epstein: ”I just talked to him and told him he had a great season. Great season. He’s the best coach around.”
The thought of the popular Rivers leaving doesn’t sit well with his players. ”Doc’s everything. Everything. It’s going to be a rough one,” Garnett said. ”I think everyone wants Doc back. That’s not even an issue.”
A lost championship to the rival Lakers didn’t get the usually stoic Garnett choked up. Instead, it was a question about the end of a run with this group.
”Yeah, it’s difficult,” said Garnett, who exhaled deeply while holding back tears. ”It’s just a difficult time right now for everybody. …