Celtics

Celtics Prep for Free Agency: Doc Rivers Staying, Pierce Leaving?

| by Alex Groberman

Much like their NBA Finals opponents, the Boston Celtics are facing a lot of uncertainty regarding what the future may hold. It was thought when the season ended that head coach, Doc Rivers, would likely retire. Many also questioned whether or not forward, Paul Pierce, would exercise his option to become a free agent this summer.

Early reports from Yahoo Sports have Rivers returning to the team. After taking a bit of time to deliberate whether or not he wanted to leave the team to spend more time with his family, the championship coach has reportedly decided to stay with the Celtics for one more season.

According to the same story, the Celtics have reworked the final year of Rivers’ contract so that he can receive a raise from the $5.5 million he was supposed to get originally. However, the Celtics coach told the team he was not prepared to commit to a contract extension because of his ongoing desire to take a step back from coaching and spend more time with his family at their home in Orlando.

With Rivers back on board, the Celtics will now turn their focus to keeping the team together.

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Early reports out of Boston suggest that Pierce will opt out of his contract and test free agency this summer. Pierce’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN the all-star will give up his $21.5 million salary next season for a chance to sign a new four-year deal worth more than $90 million.

Pierce will join a free agent class of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki and many more in the highly anticipated 2010 free agency period.

The Celtics are also looking into resigning shooting guard Ray Allen.

With the loss of defensive guru Tom Thibodeau to the Chicago Bulls, a Kendrick Perkins' knee injury that could have him sidelined until the middle of the season, and the uncertain status of Pierce and Allen, many wonder whether the Celtics will maintain enough firepower to challenge in the Eastern Conference next season.

The NBA free agency period kicks off July 1.