Danny Ainge has said Doc Rivers is coming back to coach the Celtics in the 2013-14 season. Now Ainge is saying he has denied the Brooklyn Nets permission to speak with Rivers about their vacant coaching position, ESPNBoston.com reported Thursday night.
Rivers has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract. The Nets did not retain interim coach P.J. Carlesimo after getting knocked out of the playoffs earlier this month.
Reached late Thursday, Ainge refused to comment on the Nets’ interest in Rivers and reiterated that he expects him back on the Celtics’ bench next season, according to the website.
The Celtics’ unwillingness to allow a competing team to talk to Rivers, wrote ESPNBoston.com, suggests they expect him to honor the extension he signed on May 11, 2011, which made him among the highest-paid coaches in professional sports.
James leads All-NBA
LeBron James was a unanimous pick for the All-NBA team and Kobe Bryant earned his record-tying 11th first-team selection.
James received all 119 votes for the first team from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the US and Canada. Joining the league’s MVP and Bryant on the first team Thursday were Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, San Antonio center Tim Duncan, and Clippers guard Chris Paul.
Bryant tied Hall of Famer Karl Malone with his 11th first-team nod.
NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony led the second team, joined by guards Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker, center Marc Gasol, and forward Blake Griffin.
The third team was Houston’s James Harden, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, Lakers center Dwight Howard, and forwards Paul George of Indiana and David Lee of Golden State.
It could have been the perfect matchup to cap an unforgettable game. James driving to the rim to face Roy Hibbert, one play to decide Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Alas, Hibbert was on the bench for the deciding moment. And James made Miami’s game-winner seem way too easy.
James blew past George and made a layup as time expired, and the Heat found a way to outlast the Indiana Pacers, 103-102, in a back-and-forth Game 1 Wednesday night. There were 18 ties and 17 lead changes, two coming in the final 2.2 seconds, the last on a play that had Hibbert shaking his head in disbelief at his seat 75 feet from where James beat both the clock and the Pacers in one swoop.
‘‘Once I got the ball,’’ James said, ‘‘I was the only option.’’
He finished with his ninth career postseason triple-double — 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Heat looked like they had won in regulation, before George connected on a tying 3-pointer from 32 feet with 0.7 seconds left to extend the game. Then the Pacers looked like they had stolen Game 1 when George made three free throws for a 1-point lead with 2.2 ticks left in overtime.
They simply left James too much time. He caught the inbounds pass from Shane Battier, benefited from George overplaying him to his left side, drove, and released the ball with about four-10ths of a second remaining. By the time the shot dropped softly through the net, the clock showed zeroes.
‘‘It was gut-wrenching,’’ Hibbert said.
So, too, was the decision that Pacers coach Frank Vogel had to make before the final play. Vogel’s dilemma was this: Put Hibbert on the floor and risk that he couldn’t cover a possible jumper by Chris Bosh, the Heat’s center-by-default who is probably the best outside-shooting big man in the game — or hope the Pacers could get one more stop without him.
Hibbert stayed on the bench. James drove and scored. Second-guessing commenced.
‘‘I would say we would probably have him in next time,’’ Vogel said.