After falling to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs, the Boston Celtics face an uncertain offseason, but it appears that the team is interested in bringing at least one of their free-agent veterans back for one last curtain call.
The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that the team is hopeful that 36-year-old power forward/center Kevin Garnett will return to play an 18th NBA season, and head coach Doc Rivers is optimistic that if Garnett does play again in 2012-2013, he will be wearing the green and white.
“Absolutely...Let’s just say yes. Positive thinking. I hope he comes back, and I think he will,” said the Celtics’ coach. “I have no basis for that. I just believe that he will.”
Rivers went on to say that both he and the director of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, have been in touch with Garnett and his representatives and have already begun laying the groundwork for a potential return to Beantown for the veteran forward.
Garnett, a 14-time All-Star and the 2004 NBA MVP, averaged almost 16 points and eight rebounds a game last year, and while at his age Garnett is clearly not the player he once was, it makes a lot of sense for the Celtics to make an effort to bring the big man back for at least one more year.
For starters, the Celtics badly need to get bigger. It's entirely possible that Boston will use both the 21st and 22nd picks in the upcoming NBA draft to address that need. However, to do so and then allow Garnett to ride off into the sunset would effectively be taking one step forward at the expense of taking two steps back.
Granted, Kevin Garnett is no longer the explosive, above-the-rim force that he was while wallowing with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a fresh-faced youngster straight out of high school.
With that said, he is still a capable scorer and rebounder who might actually play better as a reserve or part of a rotation with some younger faces, many of whom he could serve as a mentor of sorts for as they make the transition to the NBA.
Also, while the Boston Celtics' core has undoubtedly gotten old and guard Ray Allen may well be on his way out, the fact remains that this is a team that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last year. If the Celtics have any illusions about contending next season as opposed to just blowing the team up and starting over, then bringing back KG makes sense.
Ainge would seem to agree, and while he's far from certain that Garnett will be back in the NBA at all next year, he recently told The Herald in a separate piece that he feels Garnett is down to choosing between the Celtics and retirement.
“We’re having conversations with Kevin, but we don’t have any answers on whether he’s coming back or not,” he said. “I don’t think it will happen quickly. There’s no deadline with Kevin. We don’t want to rush him,” he said. “We don’t want to pressure him. You guys know Kevin.”
Ainge is referring to Garnett's trademark scowl and infamous temper, and for the sake of both the Celtics' fortunes next season and their fans, here's to hoping that we'll get to see both on display, even if it's just for one more season.