Kevin Garnett Should Return to Celtics Instead of Retiring

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 01:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics reacts in the first half against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Although Kevin Garnett still hasn't made a final decision about his NBA future, returning to the Boston Celtics remains a far better option than calling it quits for good.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has talked with the veteran several times, as he begins to plot out his offseason strategy, and believes Garnett will either return to the team or retire, according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald.

If Ainge has a good read on the situation, the decision should be easy for Garnett. He should commit to another season with the Celtics, give Ainge as much time as possible to fill out the roster and make at least one more run at a championship.

Garnett is the ultimate competitor. Unlike a lot of players in the modern era who would rather be buddies with the opposition and play nice on the court, the 36-year-old power forward has never been afraid to ruffle some feathers along the way.

He loves to win above all else. That's why he originally joined the Celtics, and the decision paid off with his first NBA title in 2008.

Whenever he does decide to walk away from the game, it will be impossible for him to replace the feeling he gets whenever the Celtics win a big game. It's always an issue with athletes after they retire, but more so for a fiery player like Garnett who craves those moments.

Yes, he's lost some explosiveness in recent years and will never be the dominant interior force he was during his peak seasons, but he can still hold his own. In a league that lacks reliable post players, Garnett is still a valuable commodity.

While he averaged just 16 points and eight rebounds during the regular season, those numbers are actually right in line with his previous three campaigns. There hasn't been an obvious drop in productivity—just limited minutes as Doc Rivers aims to keep him healthy.

Right now, making a quick decision is essential. Even though Ainge said in the report that they are willing to give Garnett as much time as he needs to make up his mind, the Celtics will have a better chance of building a strong roster if Garnett commits before free agency begins.

Ray Allen plans to explore his options on the open market, and Boston would have a much better case to present to the jump-shot master if Garnett is in the mix.

When push comes to shove, it's hard to imagine KG walking away with the sour taste of a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in his mouth. That's especially true after the Heat made winning the championship look easy against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He should agree to a new deal with Boston and let Ainge work his magic. It would be the best thing for the Celtics, the team's fans and, most importantly, the fierce competitor himself.