Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Kevin Garnett is the identity of the Boston Celtics.
Since his arrival (along with Ray Allen's) in Boston in 2007, KG has brought in a new era of success in Beantown.
With Allen having departed for South Beach last summer and Garnett and Paul Pierce aging, the Celtics were relying on Rajon Rondo to carry the torch as he enters his prime.
That all changed on Jan. 27 when it was announced Rondo tore his ACL and would miss the rest of the season. Boston's playoff hopes seemed to be collapsing.
Raise your hand if you thought the Celtics would have won their first five games without their All-Star point guard? No, really...put your hand down. You know you didn't.
Doc Rivers has rallied the troops once again and everybody is picking up the slack. The bench has stepped up to provide more offense. The whole team is sharing the ball. The star players, Garnett and Pierce, have shouldered more of the load themselves.
Garnett scored a season-high 27 points Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. After the game, he wrapped up the essence of what he brings to the Celtics:
"We're fighters," Garnett said. "We're a team that's going to compete for 48 minutes. It's not always pretty. We're not perfect. We're human beings. But we play hard, we do our best to go out and try to perfect the game plan."
Whether he rubs you the wrong way or not, Garnett embodies the attitude that Rivers and the Celtics want to exude. Also, he possesses a no-trade clause that he can use to block any trade. So he is in control of the situation.
But he's getting long in the tooth and, realistically, the Celtics' chances of competing for a championship without Rondo are not great.
Hello, Danny Ainge. Meet rock and hard place.
Rumors have linked the Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers as possible trade partners for Garnett, with Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler going to Boston. Another rumor has suggested the Clippers would be agreeable to replacing Butler with DeAndre Jordan in their trade proposal.
Bledsoe is a good get, a guy who has the potential to be a star even though he plays the same position as Rondo.
But is trading away the heart and soul of the team worth the chase for the next star?
We will find out how Ainge feels about that question in the next couple of weeks.