Optimism has vanished that the NBA will allow the Los Angeles Clippers to execute separate deals for Boston Coach Doc Rivers and forward Kevin Garnett.

During a string of radio interviews Thursday, NBA commissioner David Stern commented on the talks.

“I would say that if we know that what the parties really want to do is one (deal) and they are going to break into two for purposes of trying to avoid the restrictions that the collective bargaining agreement places on it, we know how to deal with that as well,” Stern said on ESPN radio.

Stern later made it even clearer.

“If you think those, at this point – having been all over the media for the last week – are separate transactions … I have a bridge that I would very much enjoy selling to you,” he said.

Reports surfaced Thursday that the Clippers would pursue a deal for Rivers before trying to acquire Garnett down the road. However, it is illegal to perform a trade with a side agreement – one that would allow for a future deal for Garnett to occur.

THESE NBA FINALS were apparently about the kids.

Whether it was Tim Duncan spending a few minutes with his children at halftime of Game 5 of the series — a scene captured by TV cameras as the Spurs’ forward sat on the floor resting up for the second half — or Miami Heat star LeBron James celebrating one of his sons’ birthdays in San Antonio last week, kids were never out of mind for either team during the title series.

“They know if I won or lost,” James said. “But for the most part when you have them around, man, it puts everything in perspective.”

James was planning to spend some time before Game 7 watching SpongeBob with his kids, and most of the Heat players were expected to have the vast majority of their families in the building for the final game of the season.

Heat forward Chris Bosh said even at the most important time of the season, having his children around makes life much easier.

“Kids are the best medicine because they don’t care anything about the game,” Bosh said.

PLAYOFF SHARES: The Heat and Spurs were playing for a little something more than the NBA title Thursday. There also was a small amount of cash at stake.

OK, “small” perhaps might only be in NBA-player terms.

In actuality, the clubs were playing Game 7 for $776,717.

Such was the difference in the playoff shares that the clubs would be receiving from the league out of this season’s $13 million pool of postseason money. The winning team Thursday night would be getting an additional $2,302,232 to split however it chooses from the league office; the losing team would be getting an additional $1,525,515.

WHISTLE WATCH: More fouls were called per game this season in the NBA than a year ago, though whistles apparently blew at a less-frequent rate than at just about any other point in the last quarter-century.

Entering Thursday, there were an average of 39.99 fouls called per game (including both the regular season and the playoffs) in the NBA this season, up slightly from last year’s 39.39-per-game clip.

Still, that looks like pretty good behavior when compared to just a few seasons ago.

In 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, NBA referees called an average of 45.16 fouls per game.

QUOTABLE: The final practices of the season were shootaround sessions for both teams Thursday morning, and both produced some of the best one-liners of the entire series.

From Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, asked about his legacy: “Food and wine. It’s just a job.”

And from Heat forward Chris Bosh, about the fact that Thursday is the final day before summer vacation starts: “It’s like the last day of school. Except you have to do work.”