Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers will return for another season, staying with the team he led to the NBA Finals twice in three years for a run at another championship.

"Doc is a fantastic coach and leader and I am thrilled he is coming back for the upcoming season," Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Rivers said in a text message to The Boston Globe, "I want another crack at it with this group."

Rivers' decision does not mean that the nucleus of the Celtics team that won the franchise's unprecedented 17th NBA title in 2008 will be back for a run in 2010-11. Paul Pierce reportedly has said he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent, and Ray Allen is also due to become a free agent on Thursday.

Rivers has a career coaching record of 451-380, including 280-212 with the Celtics.

Stoudemire opts out

Amar'e Stoudemire has opted out of the final year of his contract with the Phoenix Suns. Agent Happy Walters said the five-time All-Star made the move after talks with Suns owner Robert Sarver failed to result in an agreement on a contract extension. The last year of Stoudemire's contract was worth about $17.7 million.

Gay gets qualifying offer

Restricted free agent Rudy Gay has received a qualifying offer from the Memphis Grizzlies. The qualifying offer means the Grizzlies have the right of first refusal should another team try to sign Gay, their longest-tenured player. It also means the Grizzlies are willing to see what the market holds for Gay, who can negotiate with other teams during the free-agency signing period . . . Agent Jeff Schwartz told the Charlotte Bobcats Tyson Chandler wouldn't opt out of the final year of his deal. But Raymond Felton may have played his final game with the Bobcats, as he will become an unrestricted free agent . . . Spurs swingman Richard Jefferson opted out of the final year of his contract. - AP

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