MIAMI – He’s only spent five seasons in green and white, but it’s hard to envision Kevin Garnett in another jersey.
He’s become synonymous with the Celtics since the Big 3 was formed and he joined forces with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo to form one of the league’s most formidable units.
So to hear that Garnett is considering all of his options, including playing elsewhere and even potentially retiring, is a bit of a shock. He played so well during the Celtics’ run to the Eastern Conference finals that I can’t see any reason for him to make his 17th season in the league his last.
It’s obvious he has more to give the game, be it in Boston or somewhere else. But Celtics boss Danny Ainge told ESPNBoston.com that Garnett retiring is one of several options being considered:
Despite a strong finish to his 17th season in the league, the 36-year-old Garnett is pondering retirement and needs time to make a decision about his basketball future.
“Kevin and I had a good conversation last week and the conversation was mostly on how he needs time before he makes that decision,” Ainge said during an in-studio appearance Wednesday afternoon on Boston sports radio WEEI-93.7 FM. “I think we’ll talk within the next week, but I’m not so sure that’s a decision day for him. He may want to wait and see what sort of team we have. I’m not sure.
“I know that he wants to come back. I know he likes Boston, and I know he loves playing for (coach) Doc (Rivers). He loves everything about the team and the city and so forth. I think that his decision will be, ‘Do I really want to play? Or do I not want to play.’ ”
If Garnett needs additional time for a decision, it puts Boston in a tough spot with both the NBA draft approaching later this month and cap space tied up in holds for Garnett and Ray Allen when free agency opens in early July.
“It is complicated and the timing is complicated. Juggling all these different scenarios is difficult,” Ainge said. “But the reality is that, on July 1, Kevin Garnett is on our books for $21 million until we either sign him to a new contract, or renounce him, which means we can’t re-sign him. Otherwise, it really limits our cap space.”
Ainge admitted that renouncing Garnett — or any of Boston’s big-name free agents such as Allen, Brandon Bass, or Jeff Green — is unlikely. Ainge hinted that re-signing the team’s own free agents, particularly with a slim pool of available bodies on the open market, might be the team’s best approach this offseason.
With all of those decisions pending in Boston, it might be difficult for the Celtics to make it work without sacrificing another piece for the long-term future.
But the bigger concern here is that Garnett is contemplating calling it a career. That would be a devastating blow to the league to lose era-defining talents like Shaquille O’Neal and Garnett in back-to-back years.
KG has more basketball left in him!