Boston Celtics: Why the C's Face Delicate Decision with Kevin Garnett
The 14-time NBA all-star and future Hall of Famer's career is finally winding down after 16 years. Garnett has yet to decide whether he will retire or continue playing in the league, and his decision will affect the Celtics' offseason moves.
As July 1 quickly approaches, Boston and KG must come to an agreement soon or else the Celtics may end up getting the shorter end of the stick.
After 16 seasons in the NBA, it's only right that 36-year-old Kevin Garnett is weighing all of his options carefully, including retirement.
According to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, an unidentified friend of Garnett's said it looks like the future Hall of Famer is leaning heavily toward retirement. "I think that's what we've been seeing in these playoffs," the friend said. "The way he's been playing, it's like he wants to go out on his terms."
With KG's career winding down, it is no surprise that the power forward (and sometimes center) is carefully considering retirement. Due to his highly competitive nature, it would be fitting for KG to leave the league while still playing high-quality basketball, not once he physically can't play anymore.
No Cap Space
The Celtics are facing the problem of having no cap space in early July. When the free agency market opens on July 1, Kevin Garnett will be on the books for $21 million. By that time, the Celtics must either re-sign him to a new contract or renounce him, which means they can't re-sign him.
If KG comes to a decision before July 1, it would make it easier for the Celtics to determine their offseason moves. However, it all starts with Garnett.
KG's contract is on the heftier side, so signing him to a different contract for less money would give the C's more leverage to work with the other free agents. It wouldn't be surprising if Garnett actually took a pay cut for a chance to work with the team for one more shot at a championship.
Resurrection as Center
Celtics fans experienced a resurrection of the Kevin Garnett during the second half of the 2011-12 season, not as a power forward but as a center. After Jermaine O'Neal suffered a wrist injury, head coach Doc Rivers moved Garnett to the center position where he excelled for the remainder of the season.
The transition seemed to rejuvenate KG, who shot 50 percent and averaged 19.2 points in the postseason. Garnett was also dominant in the paint, averaging 8.2 rebounds and one block per game.
As the Celtics contemplate whether to re-sign Garnett or not, they have to keep his recent revitalization in mind. He was supposed to be a player on the decline, but ended up being a major factor in their post-all-star break success. If KG plays at the same level next year, the C's could definitely have another year as a serious title contender.
Boston Must Convince KG
If the Celtics want Kevin Garnett to return to the league next season, they must convince him that it will be worth it. The Boston Herald reported that the situation must be right in order for KG to return, meaning he wants to see the roster first.
Danny Ainge has his work cut out for him. Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and JaJuan Johnson are the only Celtics under contract for the 2012-13 season. Ainge must show Garnett that the team will either re-sign its free agents or make some major offseason moves to remain a contender.
It's understandable that KG only wants to continue playing for the C's if the conditions are right. Boston's problem will be making offseason moves without ample cap space, due to KG and Ray Allen's contracts.
All or None
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are 36, while Paul Pierce is at the tender age of 34. Although the veterans most likely still have a year or two left in them, it wouldn't be smart to center the team around any player at that age because the risk of injury is far greater.
There is no question that Boston will be rebuilding the team around Rajon Rondo. The star point guard had an amazing season to prove he is the future of the Celtics. However, his supporting cast is in question.
If the Celtics really want to rebuild around Rondo, they should go younger. That means getting rid of Garnett, Allen and possibly even Paul Pierce—although it would be great to see The Truth retire a Celtic. Ainge is known for taking risks, so it's possible he could replace KG with a younger, more durable power forward.