NBA: Truth Comes Out About Celtics Treatment of Clifford Ray

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NY Post via Peter Vecsey

An agreement eventually was signed by Ray, who was pressured by team president Danny Ainge to sign by a certain date (without getting lawyers involved) or forget it. Ray, the 1974-75 champion Warriors' starting center, received $100,000 to go away quietly, enough to keep him and his family (including a 13-year-old son) going for a year or so.

Additionally, the Celtics approved medical attention for Ray, specifically for an MRSA infection he contracted in his foot several years ago while working (hence, the boot he wore so long) in Boston's contaminated practice facility; Paul Pierce and Delonte West also got sick.

Had Ray not been in Minnesota last summer and gone, at the urging of his girlfriend, to the Mayo Clinic, doctors told him he was within days of having his foot amputated. Rivers told Boston reporters he had no room in back of the bench for Ray because newly hired first assistant Lawrence Frank's deal allowed him to enlist a friend.

True enough. But the real reason Ray wasn't invited back is because Rivers didn't think he was healthy enough to get out on the floor and coach. Like the infection was Ray's fault. Like Rivers didn't know Ray was ailing for years. Like he couldn't have reached that conclusion last June so that Ray would've had ample time to find work elsewhere.

Peter Vecsey is not one to shy away from crazy rumors, but he also has a long history of having very good connections and sources. My guess is he spoke to someone close to Ray for the majority of his info. A few thoughts that I have is that first it sounds humorous to read that Lawrence Frank was allowed to bring a "friend," like the Celtics are a slumber party. Also what's the deal with the whole "contaminated practice facility?" And lastly, if the Celtics didn't think Ray was physically able to do his job why didn't they set him free immediately after the season? My guess is they were still on the fence at that point whether or not they were going to retain Ray.

The whole story seemed fishy at the time and I was pretty disappointed in the mainstream Boston media for not going after the story. We read all these columns about how great Clifford Ray was as a coach, mentor, and person, but it shouldn't have taken a New York writer to investigate and print the back story.

Credit to RedsArmy.com for the original find.