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Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his first phone call on Sunday, the official opening of free agency in the NBA, to Ray Allen. He said he does not think the call was in vain, despite a variety of reports that have the Celtics' guard ticketed for Miami, Memphis or ABB (Anywhere But Boston.)
"It's a stretch for me to see him go somewhere else," Rivers said after completing a morning round of golf in the Boston area.
As for fellow Celtics free agent Jeff Green, Rivers said, "We're going after Jeff. We're going to get Jeff. I believe that, yes."
Green missed all of last season after needing heart surgery.
So with the re-signing of Kevin Garnett and the potential re-signings of Allen and Green, the 2012-13 Celtics are going to look a lot like the 2011-12 Celtics?
"We want to add players and we're going after a couple of free agents who I can't name," Rivers said. "Kevin came back because he wants to win. He likes our team. He saw how close we were. Now we're going to try and add some pieces and he understands that. But we've got a high-caliber guy who wants to stay in one place and that's really neat."
Here's what Rivers had to say about Allen, Green and other things:
On Allen: "We really want him back and I really think at the end of the day that he will be back because this is such a good fit for him. We need him back and we're trying to get him back. We can offer him more money. Yes, there are a couple of teams way under the cap who might be able to offer more money. But other than that, we can offer him more (than Miami or Memphis). He already lives here. He knows his role and everything else. It's a stretch for me to see him go somewhere else."
On whether Allen gave any indication when he'd make a decision: "No indication. He's on a family trip now. But we'll keep hashing away and hopefully he comes back because he's really important to our team."
On Garnett re-signing and talking Allen into doing the same: "I hope so. I don't know that that happened. But I hope it's true. Kevin just had to make sure he really wanted to play. That's always important. Once he did that, we knew he wanted to play for us, which is really neat for everybody. He loves Boston. He was just trying to decide, do I want to go through this again."
On Green: "We're going after Jeff. We're going to get Jeff. I believe that, yes. Obviously, you never know, until it's signed, but Jeff has a great relationship with the team, the players and he really wants to play here. So I think if we get the numbers right, he'll definitely come to us. And if we don't, if somebody comes in and blows him away, then it's a business thing because I really think he wants to play in Boston. He loves the crowds. He wants to play here and that gives us an advantage."
On whether the Celtics could have beaten the Miami Heat in the playoffs if they were healthy: "We believe that. Again, that doesn't guarantee anything. All it means is that we would have had more players. It doesn't guarantee you're going to play better. But sure, we would have liked to have had everybody in house and healthy."
Rivers did not comment on whether the Celtics are pursuing free agent O.J. Mayo, now an unrestricted free agent, but an NBA source indicated Mayo may be out of the Celtics' price range. The Celtics tried to acquire Mayo at the trading deadline in March (in a reported deal for Allen) but the trade fell through.
Free agents can agree to terms with teams beginning Sunday, but signings are not official until July 11.