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Celtics notebook

Rivers extension ‘basically done’

By Gary Washburn and Monique Walker
Globe Staff / May 13, 2011

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A day after having his team eliminated from the playoffs and then emotionally announcing that he was likely to return as the Celtics’ coach, Doc Rivers did not waver from his stance.

What’s more, he said that a multiyear deal to bring him back was “basically done.’’

Rivers, who had a one-year option, said, “We have to figure out a couple of things, but we’ll get it done relatively quickly.

“I wanted to get this out of the way so we can concentrate on the summer and free agency. Everything should be done soon. We want to get this done as soon as possible so we can move forward.’’

Rivers believes the Celtics have unfinished business with the Big Three (Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce) and Rajon Rondo. It was apparent during the series loss to Miami that the Celtics were a step slow and unable to compete down the stretch with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

“We have to surround them with talent,’’ said Rivers. “Miami is only going to get better. Chicago is only going to get better. To help Kevin, Ray, and Paul, we just have to add talent. We relied on those three to carry the load for years, but we can’t do that as much any more.’’

After a 28-point, 18-rebound performance in Game 3, Garnett combined for 7-for-23 shooting and 22 total points in the final two games. He looked particularly fatigued, and Rivers realizes he may have to take even more steps in the future to get Garnett rest.

In San Antonio, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has limited Tim Duncan’s minutes and held him out of games and practices to keep him fresh for the postseason.

“I think that would be what we could do, maybe not [to] that extent,’’ said Rivers. “But we have to do what we have to do to preserve him.

“The good thing is, KG gets an extra month to get some rest and get healthy because last year, since we went to Game 7 [of the Finals], he had a short summer.’’

Rivers said the goal this summer is to get younger, but a blueprint is difficult to sketch because of the uncertain NBA labor situation and potential lockout.

“We just have to wait on that,’’ said Rivers. “But we have to be ready to make moves. We have to get some size.’’

Rivers is convinced the Celtics are capable of another championship run. And he would not be against lineup changes that would actually bring one of the Big Three off the bench.

“Depending on what we can get, that is something you would have to consider,’’ he said.

Kind words There has been plenty of speculation about the relationship between Celtics guard Delonte West and James. There have been rumors that the two did not like each other after playing 2 1/2 years together in Cleveland, but West said after Wednesday’s game there is no truth to that. After the Heat won the series, West congratulated James. “We’ve always been cool,’’ West said. “Nothing ever wrong with us besides the conflict and confrontation that the media caused, but, besides that, we remain friends. Our mothers are good friends. But that might be the first time we spoke all series, because we’re competitors out there. On the floor, we’re not here to be friends. We’re here to compete and win.’’

Backing off Rondo ascended to another level with his performance against Miami when he played after dislocating his left elbow. But in Game 5, he said, it wasn’t the elbow that bothered him as much as his back. “You know, honestly, my back was hurting so much, my elbow didn’t even bother me that much,’’ Rondo said. “I don’t know how that happened, but it just switched.’’ Rondo played 30 minutes but had just three assists. He said he will need a few treatments in the offseason for his elbow and other ailments. “It will be a lot of down time,’’ he said. “I’m going to rest, take a vacation, enjoy some time with my family.’’

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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