At some rate, whether fast or slow, Kevin Garnett’s body is deteriorating. That’s not pessimism, but fact. He can’t jump quite as high as he used to and his pick-and-roll hedges, although still unrivaled in the NBA, don’t display the same lateral quickness they used to. His knee recovered remarkably well a full season removed from surgery, but there are nights when Garnett struggles, nights when he looks oddly human, nights when it doesn’t take a pair of binoculars to see the end approaching.
Whenever that end does come, Garnett wants to retire as a Boston Celtic.
“I want to finish my career as a Celtic,’’ he told the Boston Globe. “This is it. I don’t plan on bouncing from team to team, that’s not really the plan. Hopefully, God willing, I can finish my career out with a classful organization as Boston. I don’t want to downgrade. I want to continue to be where I’m at. This is the first option and hopefully the only option.’’
File Garnett’s desire to retire as a Celtic in the “confirming what we already suspected” folder. Garnett is a loyal man, one who once spent three or four too many years in purgatory — err, in Minnesota — before requesting a trade. If the Timberwolves had not completely gutted their roster and made their “rebuild rather than try to contend” plan painfully obvious, Garnett would probably still play his home games at the Target Center, toiling away in obscurity, wondering what championships taste like and pondering whether he could get away with killing Glen Taylor.
The Celtics offered Garnett the chance to free himself from Minnesota’s handcuffs. They gave him his first shot at contending and assembled a supporting cast he could win a championship with. The city embraced him as its own and, better yet, he no longer needed to score 30 points every night, deal with Wally Szczerbiak every day, or pray that Ricky Davis got hot so the Wolves could have a legitimate second scoring option. Garnett could focus on winning, defense and his characteristic unselfish play, and he could do it alongside a team of intelligent players who were Joey Chestnut-hungry to win a championship.
Being human, Garnett surely appreciates everything Boston has given him. Being Kevin Garnett, it would probably take a natural disaster for him to retire with another team.
When that retirement comes is up to Garnett’s body. (Boston Globe)
When asked if he would play past next season, Garnett said with a giggle: “My body and I gotta actually have a one-on-one to see future-wise where I’m at and what I want to do. So, I will make that decision.’’
For now, Garnett is hoping for a season. If and when that season arrives, Garnett knows the Celtics will need to fend off injuries and old age, which they have been unable to do the past three seasons. But he still has confidence in his team.
“This upcoming season I think that obviously we need some young components, but whatever team we build, come postseason I have a lot of faith in our system and our coach and just how we do things in Boston,” he said. “If we’re healthy I think we have a strong chance to beat anybody. But health is always the issue with anything in sports.
“I look forward to competing and trying to win a second ring.’’