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Celtics notebook

Agent believes Wallace is done

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / June 25, 2010

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The first time Rasheed Wallace told Celtics coach Doc Rivers he was thinking of hanging up his sneakers was three days before Game 7 of the Finals. He called Rivers the night before the game and told him he would leave everything on the floor, coming closer to the realization that he was done. Yesterday, reports had Wallace deciding to retire, although his agent said it wasn’t yet final.

Wallace had a conversation with agent Bill Strickland last night and informed him that he is strongly considering retirement.

“If I had to bet my money, I would say he’s done,’’ Strickland said. “But he has not made a final decision yet. But he is leaning toward retiring.’’

Strickland said one factor that could encourage Wallace’s return would be another chance to play for Rivers and with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. But he also told Strickland during the season that he wants to spend more time with his family. Two of his sons were fixtures in the Celtics’ locker room.

“I suppose he will make a decision in the next couple of days,’’ Strickland said. “He’s going to make up his own mind and let me know.’’

According to multiple reports yesterday, Wallace decided to end a 15-year career that at times was as brilliant as it was rebellious. Wallace made four All-Star teams, reached three Finals, and won his only title in 2004 with the Pistons. He also set a record that will likely go unmatched, amassing 304 technical fouls in his career.

After a disappointing regular season in which he shot just 28 percent from 3-point range, Wallace was a different player in the postseason. In Game 7 of the Finals, Wallace played a postseason-high 38 minutes, rebounding and defending and shooting at a level that brought back flashes of his prime. He was exhausted by the end of the game, however, cramping up to the point he needed to be constantly subbed in and out and stretched out on the sideline.

Knowing that poor conditioning had hampered Wallace all season, Rivers said the effort was admirable.

“He went out great,’’ Rivers said. “Literally, there were times during that game where we had to pull him out just to stretch him because he was struggling in that game. He gave everything he had in his body on that night and that’s what you want.’’

Rivers said Wallace has shown interest in possibly coaching one day, but not at the professional level.

“High school,’’ Rivers said.

Perkins must wait
Initially, Kendrick Perkins was to have surgery on his injured right knee today, but he will hold off, apparently because there is still swelling.

“It’ll be soon enough,’’ Rivers said. “Don’t know really, but in the next couple weeks.’’

Perkins tore both his MCL and PCL in Game 6 against the Lakers, forcing him to miss the final game of the series. Perkins was coming off perhaps the best season of his career, averaging a career-high 10.1 points and grabbing 7.6 rebounds.

Rivers was unsure how long the injury would keep Perkins out, but knowing he would be sidelined makes the center position a priority.

“We clearly need to get another big with Perk’s injury,’’ Rivers said. “Not knowing at one point he’s going to be healthy we have to get another big.’’

Time is at hand
Rivers said he expects to make his decision on whether to stay on as coach in the next week. Looking at the calendar, he knows why it’s important to keep to that schedule.

Free agency starts next Thursday, and that’s the point when all the dominoes start to fall, including Allen’s unrestricted free agency. Pierce has until Wednesday to accept his $21 million option or choose to become a free agent. The Celtics also start their summer league in Orlando July 5.

“For a lot of reasons, the July 1 date is important,’’ Rivers said.

Rivers said he has talked to Allen and Pierce about remaining Celtics. They, of course, have tried to talk him into staying as well.

“Both of them should always be Celtics for the rest of their careers,’’ said Rivers, “and I’m very honest about that. I think Paul wants to be that.’’

Gary Washburn of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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