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Celtics decision to rebuild or reload hinges on Kevin Garnett

Jun 22, 2012, 12:07 PM EDT

Celtics' Pierce, Garnett and Allen sit on the bench during their loss to the Heat during Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals NBA basketball playoffs in Boston Reuters

The good news for Celtics fans is that all the talk of this season’s playoff run being the last for the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett may have been a bit premature.

The bad news might be that the club’s decision to go into a complete rebuild or to try to reload for one more shot at the title with its veteran core may hinge solely on the free agent decision that Garnett will have to make. From the Boston Globe:

The Celtics have four unrestricted free agents – Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, and Mickael Pietrus – that Ainge said he would like to re-sign for next season. The key piece, of course, is Garnett, who has yet to decide if he even wants to play next season.

Ainge said he and Garnett have kept in touch, and he expects to hear from the 17-year veteran again in the coming days. …

If Garnett decides to return, Ainge said he plans on using the Celtics’ available salary cap space to also bring back Allen, Bass, and Pietrus, and perhaps another piece. With Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo under contract, the team could make one more charge.

You can’t blame Boston for giving it one more try with this group, considering that the team was one win away from knocking out the champion Heat, and heading to the NBA Finals themselves. But a longer look at the realities of that postseason run — Derrick Rose‘s injury that caused the Bulls to exit in the first round, Boston needing seven games to take down a not-very-good Sixers squad, and Chris Bosh‘s unavailability for the first four games of the Conference finals — may show that a lot of things had to go just right for this Celtics team to get as far as they did.

Still, Boston competed as hard as anyone in these playoffs, so you can’t fault Ainge for giving it one more shot. That is, if Garnett decides it’s in his best interest to return for that final run.

  1. jeffw - Jun 22, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    KG played too ell this post season to walk away. He’s got 1 or 2 more years left in that tired body. If the Celtics can get and stay healthy for next season, they are a 2 or 3 seed in the east.

  2. floridascuba1 - Jun 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I think he retires. The East is Miami’s for the taking for the next few years. The Big-3 have learned how to play off one another and all 3 have stellar defense. With how Bosh played on Defense, I don’t see KG doing to much. Plus this summer, I expect a lot of veterans looking for rings heading to Miami for a low price.

  3. loungefly74 - Jun 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    wow…i hate to say it…but I think that roster deserves another shot. just dont overpay them…

  4. scalfor3 - Jun 22, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    theres nothing out there to rebuild with in free agency. better to give it another go round then blow it up for nothing.

  5. passerby23 - Jun 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    IF they can re-sign all those guys, they are in the mix again. It’s so overlooked how much Jeff Green and Avery Bradley were missed.

  6. truthhurtstoo - Jun 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Let em’ come back…. only to LOSE to the HEAT yet again. The creakers time is done.

  7. acdc363 - Jun 22, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Great news!

  8. paulhargis53 - Jun 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Truth, don’t you have anything better to do? Jesus, how lame are you? The creakers? That doesn’t make sense ans there isn’t 1 iota of humor in it.

    That old team pushed the Heat to the limit. It was done with 4 guys lost to injury in Wilcox, Green, J. O’Neal and Bradley.
    Not to mention Pierce and Allen hobbled by injuries.
    It’s dopes like you why people hate certain teams. You are a know nothing blowhard. You should be happy your team won, yet its more important to you to rub it in peoples faces. That’s pathetic.
    No class, no sportsmanship. Grow up.
    By the way Celtics 17 Miami 2.
    Come talk to us when you’re in double digits for titles. Until they win multiple titles together, this is just a fart in the wind.

  9. j0esixpack - Jun 22, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Well, the thing is Allen may not be content to come off the bench – and wasn’t happy about losing his starting job to Bradley (The Celtics would have likely been in the Finals had Bradley been healthy.)

    I think Allen’s expressed some interest in heading to Miami – but he obviously won’t be starting there either – and I’m not sure if Miami thinks they really need him now either given how many threes they were raining down themselves.

    So if Allen’s not there KG might consider a move close to home.

    One thing is clear – it’s going take a 2 year $20 million deal for Garnett in all likelihood -and while that might be overpaying, that’s what the market probably is for KG

    The good news is that they do have some good young players to build around and that may include Jeff Green.

  10. jimeejohnson - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Some in Boston claim GM Danny Ainge is saying keep the team intact in public while in private planning to rebuild. The Celtics core is fairly popular with the locals but winning is not a popularity contest. Ainge will do whatever it takes, just like his counterpart in Los Angeles. Lakers and Celtics cannot be counted out for any extended period. Their history of winning is proof.

  11. fanz928 - Jun 22, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    You mean 2yrs 30 mil thats the price for Garnett

  12. congocash - Jun 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    Once dominant teams getting bounced out by younger teams is depressing… Its like an over the hill boxer who steps back in the ring to get paid… But gets knocked out… Just pull the plug already.

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