Celtics coach Doc Rivers, in his weekly interview on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan Show, discussed the flurry of Celtics activity at the trade deadline, in which the team came close to deals that would have broken up the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett before ultimately keeping that group together (along with Rajon Rondo).
Allen was the closest to going, as the Celtics nearly had a deal that would have sent the shooting guard to the Memphis Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo and a draft pick. It had reached the point where GM Danny Ainge -- not Rivers -- called Allen to inform him that the deal was almost certainly going down, before an 11th hour change of course.
"Usually that's my job [to call a player before he is traded], and I was instructed to, but I never did. Danny did, or talked to him. But no, I didn't have to do that," said Rivers. "The best news was talking to him that we're not doing anything, when he pretty much knew we were. ... I was happy with the way he handled it. Ray, he's such a pro. You know how feelings get hurt. Ray was great."
Meanwhile, a rumored deal in which Paul Pierce would have been traded to the Nets for the expiring contract of Mehmet Okur (and his expiring contract) and New Jersey's lottery pick in the upcoming draft was not close, in Rivers' estimation.
"That wasn't close at all," said Rivers. "That had no chance."
Rivers understood why the team considered trading the veterans, including Allen.
"You have to look at the future as well, so I understood that," said Rivers. "It was hard, but I understood that."
However, he was relieved when the deals did not transpire.
"That would have been a very hard day if we had to pull the trigger and do those things," he said. "I just like our guys. Obviously, you've got to do what you've got to do and business is business, but Ray, Paul and Kevin, as far as I'm concerned, the longer we can keep them together, the better. That may be the best for the team. It may not be. But I just like them."
While Rivers and the Celtics are mindful of balancing short-term and long-term interests, the coach suggested that it would have been nearly impossible for the team to enjoy its current late-season surge towards the playoffs had it made one of the rumored trade night deals.
"No, I don't think so," Rivers said of whether this run would have been possible after a deal. "Just with new guys on a team, that would have been difficult."
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