BOSTON (CBS) – With the NBA Finals in full swing and the draft just over a week away, free agency is still the hot topic with the Boston Celtics.
Most of, if not all, the talk is around the status of Kevin Garnett, who hits the open market at the end of the month. KG has said he only wants to play for Doc Rivers if he doesn’t retire, but will the 17-year veteran return for another season (or two) on the hardwood?
Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman thinks so.
“I think Kevin Garnett will come back and play, hopefully it’ll be with the Celtics,” Gorman told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Tuesday morning. “I think the odds are very high that he’ll come back and play. I just saw no indication of Kevin losing his competitive juices. I can’t see him getting up every morning and banging his head against the refrigerator and that starts his day.”
“I think he wants to come back and play in the league, and I think he’s sincere in his statements that he only wants to play for Doc Rivers,” added Gorman. “It’s going to come down to money, as it always does. I would guess it would be something like $12-$13 million for one year. I’m sure Kevin’s agent will be looking for two, but I think one is the more practical route; give him a little more so instead of giving him two for $20 million, you give him one for $12-$13 so you have that money next year if he does retire after next year.”
If Garnett does return to the Celtics, will he be back at the center position?
“Doc is pretty good at convincing players to do what he wants them to do. I think one of the things he just has to show Kevin, he basically became a 20-10 guy once he moved to the center position,” said Gorman. “I’m sure that when Kevin gets a little distance from this hectic season and the loss, he’ll understand when he looks around the league there really aren’t a lot of true centers anymore. So he was able to dominate people, and I think even at 37-years-old, he’s still capable of going out and getting 18 points and nine rebounds from the center position.”
While trade rumors swirled throughout the regular season, is there a chance Captain Paul Pierce is sent packing this offseason? Gorman does not think so, although anything can happen with Danny Ainge.
“Everything I have heard from Celtics coaching staff, Celtics ownership, they want to see Paul Pierce play his entire career as a Celtic,” he said. “I get no indication the Celtics have shopped Paul seriously. Danny will talk about it, and that’s kind of his job as a guy who runs the basketball operations. If you didn’t win the championship, you really don’t have untouchables.”
Gorman likened a potential Pierce deal to that of the Rajon Rondo-Chris Paul rumors last summer, where it would have to be a “knockdown” deal in order to pry Pierce from Boston.
However, the Celtics may be active on the trade front when it comes to the June 28th NBA Draft. Boston currently holds picks 20 and 21 in the first round, but would love to get into the lottery — and potentially the top 10 — of this very deep draft.
“I think he’d like to move up. I don’t know how far you can move up with 20 or 21. (Ainge) would love to move into the top six, but I don’t think that’s possible,” said Gorman. “It’s supposed to be a eep draft at the power forward position, and that’s where the Celtics really need help. I think that’s where they go with 20 and 21 — if they keep them. A couple of guys that are 6-8, 250, can run the floor and rebound. That’s what the Celtics need.”