Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers reiterated Monday his belief that Rasheed Wallace will walk away from basketball this summer, revealing that the 15-year veteran told him before Game 7 of the NBA Finals that he thought it would be his final NBA contest.
Making his last appearance of the season on Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM), Rivers discussed Wallace's future and all the things that went wrong in the Celtics' Game 7 loss to the Lakers last week.
"I think you have [seen Wallace's last game]," Rivers said. "He was so emotional right after the game, but Rasheed told me the night before that, 'I'm going to give you everything I've got. I really believe this is my last game that I'm going to play.'
"He said this year was very difficult for him, physically, and that he never felt like, even the conditioning part of it hurt, and he doesn't think he wants to go through that again. And he wants to watch his kids. I do think that's the last time you see him in a Celtics' uniform."
Starting in place of injured Kendrick Perkins (right knee), Wallace registered 11 points and eight rebounds over 36 minutes in Game 7, while battling through a balky back that limited his minutes throughout the Finals.
The 35-year-old Wallace still has two years and $13 million on the three-year deal he signed with Boston last offseason, but could facilitate a buyout to walk away.
If Wallace does change his mind and is lured back by the $6.3 million salary that awaits him, he'd likely be a starter at least initially, with Perkins potentially sidelined for the start of the 2010-11 season as he prepares for surgery to repair two torn ligaments after injuring himself in Game 6 of the Finals.
Wallace's decision could force the Celtics to look to the draft or free agency to replenish their frontcourt that already appeared thin against the Lakers.
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.