HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — Talk about an odd couple.
Stoic Spurs superstar Tim Duncan and live-wire Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett have lived at opposite ends of basketball’s emotional spectrum for their entire careers.
But could they be on the verge of joining forces in silver and black?
If we are to believe the rumblings coming from San Antonio, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. The two veteran, free agents to be are both on the Spurs’ radar, per the great Buck Harvey of the Express News:
Now they are unrestricted free agents, and, as always, contrasts. While Duncan is expected to quietly re-sign this summer with the Spurs, no one is sure what happens next in Boston. Garnett added to the uncertainty Saturday night, leaving the locker room without talking to reporters.
Garnett could retire. He could sign another contract with the Celtics. Or the Celtics might not want to sign him so they can begin rebuilding.
“Hopefully management can do something to bring [Garnett] back, maybe add some pieces to this team that we need to get over the top,” Paul Pierce told reporters Saturday night. “If not, it’s been a tremendous run.”
The Celtics reacted after the loss Saturday night as if they knew the run is over. And if that is true, and if Garnett wants to continue playing, teams will line up to sign him. He can still defend, and he averaged more than 19 points, 10 rebounds and 36 minutes in the playoffs.
Some will have more money to offer than the Spurs will. Some might have more young talent to put around him. All the Spurs could give Garnett is the closest thing to what he had in Boston, a veteran core with a chance to contend.
But it’s the pairing of Garnett with Duncan that would make this free-agency signing a stunning story. While they would fit together on the court, they never have as people. They are similar in size, ability and birth (one month apart), yet have been opposites.
This spring told of that again: Sports Illustrated wrote Duncan “hates (Garnett) the way liberals hate Sean Hannity.”
I remember someone singing a song or making a movie about there being a “thin line between love and hate.” And I dare anyone to lie and say a Big Ticket-Big Fundamental pairing wouldn’t be intriguing, even at this late stage of their Hall of Fame careers.
Yeah, it would have been off the charts six or seven years ago. It would have been the sort of Twin Towers 2.0 pairing that could have changed the landscape of the league.
Garnett showed in this postseason that he still has plenty left in his tank. And Duncan showed flashes, too. Neither man appears read to call it a career just yet. Seeing them ride into the sunset together, playing on the same frontline for Gregg Popovich, would be worth the price of admission every night.