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The Celtics take a team picture outside The Colosseum in Rome in 2007.BOLTON, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will spend nearly a full week overseas at the start of October as part of the NBA Live Europe 2012 series, but if coach Doc Rivers had his druthers, it would have been an extended European vacation.
Unlike the team's chemistry-forming trip in 2007 -- coming off a summer that brought Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston -- the Celtics will hold a few days of training camp stateside this year before trekking to Istanbul and Milan for a pair of games to kick off their exhibition slate.
"I'm looking forward to it," Rivers said Tuesday at the team's golf tournament at The International. "I really wanted to, actually, go the first day after Media Day [on Friday]. We just couldn't do it for whatever reason. But I can't wait to go."
For Rivers, there's some uneasiness about splitting up training camp while making the trek across the Atlantic, but he believes the trip will almost certainly be a good thing for his squad.
"I haven't done it this way. The way we did it in [Rome and] London, we went right away, and we had camp over there. And I thought that was terrific," said Rivers. "This way, where you kind of cut up your camp, I'm not a big fan of that. But I do think it will have something. It'll be good for us. I just think when you're traveling together like this overseas, it's always pretty good."
Rivers still has a picture of the team outside the Colosseum (like the one above) from the 2007 trip hanging in his office. Players credited that trip with aiding how quickly the 2007-08 team forged its Ubuntu bond, which culminated later with Boston's 17th world title.
This year's squad has already made great strides to creating their own bond, most notably with Rajon Rondo organizing team workouts in Los Angeles in advance of the start of camp. Newcomer Jason Terry humorously feigned ignorance about the Los Angeles workouts on Tuesday, unsure if that was public knowledge, but fellow newcomer Jason Collins raved about what he saw on the west coast.
"It was impressive watching the pickup games and the depth that we have," said Collins. "We have a lot of good players, a lot of talent on this team."