It is fair to say that the Game Seven loss in the NBA Finals still stings for the Boston Celtics. Not to mention the fact that they held a 3-2 series lead and had not one but two chances to close out the Lakers.
The difficult decisions don't get any easier with the offseason approaching. The biggest question mark is the status of head coach Doc Rivers.
Rivers is truly beloved by his players and fans. Even Danny Ainge and ownership are quite pleased with Doc's performance on the sidelines. Players dream about learning the game of basketball from this type of coach.
Don't be fooled though. The NBA schedule certainly has drained Rivers and there are a lot of commitments when you're a head coach. There is a lot less time for family because you're always on the road and committed to an 82-game schedule.
The Boston Celtics, though, are really a family away from home.
Rivers' decision whether to come back or not could change the landscape of this organization. It is clear the players, especially Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, want him back on the sidelines for another go.
The only problem is Rivers' son Austin is a top college basketball prospect and is going to be a senior in high school. Also, he has two daughters who are heavily involved in college athletics.
Something tells me that Rivers has had enough of coaching for the near future. The way this season ended still has to weigh heavily on his mind. The Celtics were that close to winning their second NBA title in three years.
So close, yet so far. Now it will all begin again in November when they will try and make that run back to the NBA Finals.
Rivers said on WEEI in Boston Monday morning that he is leaning one way. He wouldn't give any hint as to which way he was thinking, but most importantly nothing is final right now.
If Doc decides to leave coaching now, the Celtics could be headed into a period of uncertainty.
There is talk that Rasheed Wallace has already played his last game. His body was clearly aging down the stretch and physically I think Sheed has had enough.
Ray Allen is a free agent who has openly said he wants to remain in Boston and will for less money. He may want to explore more options if Rivers decides that he is not going to coach next year. Allen is a shooter and a hot commodity for some teams.
The biggest cornerstone of this equation is Pierce. He has a $21.5 million option for next season. If Rivers leaves, that could lead Pierce to opt out of his final year and to test the market.
With a lockout possible in 2011, he may want to try and find a long-term deal while he can. Pierce has been a Celtic for his career, and to see him change uniforms now would be a tough sight to see.
Now you realize what a significant decision Rivers has to make, given its potential domino effect. He has openly said he wants to make his decision sooner rather than later. There are other people within the organization who have tough choices to make.
Yes, the season is over, but there is always something to be discussed and debated in the NBA. That's never going to change.
Doc Rivers, give it one year in Boston. It's there for the taking and you can't leave now with the sour taste of losing to the Lakers.