Boston Celtics: Will Kevin Garnett Retire in Green or Bolt for Another Team?

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIMarch 28, 2011

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 16:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics encourages his teammates from the bench in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers on March 16, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 92-80. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Kevin Garnett led the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2007 for the first time in the post-Bird era.

He didn't lead the team in scoring or assists (although he was among team leaders in both categories), but he was the team leader more than Pierce, Allen or Rondo could have claimed to be through his intensity.

Garnett will retire as a Boston Celtic.

One day, his number will be honored in the rafters along with other Celtics big men like Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, Dave Cowens and Kevin McHale.

Players change teams in two ways: trades and free agency. Neither make sense for Garnett at this point in his career.

It is unlikely the Celtics would trade Garnett because he will be making about $19 million this season and about $21 million next season. Unless they moved him as an expiring contract in a larger deal, a trade would make little sense.

It is also unlikely Garnett changes uniforms in free agency.

First, it is very likely Garnett will retire either after this season or when his current contract runs out after the 2012 season. He is an aging, injury-prone big man in a league of younger, more athletic big men.

For a player as proud as Garnett, playing second fiddle to any NBA player is not an appealing concept. 

Even if he does return, it is in the mutual best interest of Garnett and the Celtics to remain attached.

Garnett is 34 years old. His contract will take him through the 2012 season, when he will be 36. Garnett's scoring has declined from the 19 points per game he put up in 2007 to around 15. As injuries continue to rob Garnett's athleticism, his numbers will continue to decline. He has yet to play more than 70 regular season games since the championship run.

But Garnett is the leader of the Celtics. While Paul Pierce is the captain, the team feeds off of Garnett's energy. Defensively, Garnett is an anchor and rebounding machine. On offense, he always seems to be in the right spot for an open jumper.

When these skills erode, his energy will still be there.

So, while other teams will see a player with skills declining, the Celtics will see their team leader. Assuming his price goes down from its current max-contract status, it would be in the Celtics' best interest to bring back Garnett as a veteran leader, motivator and role player.  

Players look for three things when choosing a team: quality, location and environment. Garnett finds himself on a quality team in a huge sports town. He has friends on the team and has few issues with teammates, even while the rest of the league hates him.

It is in Garnett's best interest to remain a Celtic.

Garnett has said he wants to retire a Celtic. There is no reason for him to bolt to another team.