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Ray landed on his feet

By Gary Washburn
Globe Staff / March 17, 2012
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SACRAMENTO - Clifford Ray said he wanted to coach two more years before heading back to Florida. But the Celtics dismissed him after the 2009-10 season. After a year and a half off and time to rehabilitate a troublesome left foot, Ray is working as a consultant with the Sacramento Kings, working with mercurial big man DeMarcus Cousins.

Ray was an assistant on Doc Rivers’s staff since Rivers’s days in Orlando, but he was removed in favor of Roy Rogers, who lasted one season before joining Lawrence Frank’s staff in Detroit. Now the Celtics lack a big man coach.

Ray, meanwhile, is grateful to be in better health and back in the NBA.

“I hadn’t really wanted to come back to work but [Sacramento coach] Keith [Smart] and I went through minor league ball together and I was with him when he got his first [NBA] job, pretty much like it was with Doc when he had his first job,’’ Ray said. “It was more caring for somebody - that was the motivation - and I want to see how I physically progressed.’’

Ray visited the Mayo Clinic to have his foot examined and was given clearance to return to light work. He joined the Kings this month.

When asked about leaving the Celtics, Ray mentioned Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, when the Celtics played without Kendrick Perkins, who had a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. And Rasheed Wallace asked out of that game because of exhaustion.

“I’ll never forget the seventh game,’’ he said. “It was a bad time for me because we didn’t have [a big man].

All accounted for

All Celtics were present Friday morning for shootaround at Power Balance Pavilion. The team that won 8 of 10 games was intact, preparing to make a run at a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.

“As a team, man, you just want to know where you are,’’ Kevin Garnett said. “As a team you want everybody two feet in. You don’t want anybody outside the circle.

“With all the uncertainty, you hear the word ‘loyalty’ in this game and you kind of laugh at it. I don’t think either side has a sense of loyalty no more. I think that’s the way the league is being created through all the [labor] negotiations, all the CBA stuff that’s going on. But who am I? I am speaking my opinion.’’

O’Neal likely done

Rivers said there has been no resolution to the Jermaine O’Neal situation, although O’Neal and Danny Ainge were supposed to meet Friday in Waltham. Rivers said he does not expect O’Neal to return to the team . . . Rivers had not heard about any interest the team had in Sacramento forward J.J. Hickson, who will be a restricted free agent this summer . . . The Celtics are lacking in center depth as they search for a big man on the open market. Rivers said the team is considering Portland center Chris Johnson, who was waived Wednesday. Johnson played briefly with the Celtics last season.

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com.

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