Kevin Garnett is returning to the Boston Celtics after considering retirement, multiple sources told ESPN.com. The forward will receive a three-year, $34 million deal, the sources said.
The Celtics have one other big name heading into free agency in shooting guard Ray Allen. While he has also expressed a desire to return to Boston, sources told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that the NBA champion Miami Heat have made Allen their primary offseason target.
“The decision came down to whether KG wanted to keep playing,” a source told the Boston Herald. “And once he decided that he did, it was going to be Boston. He wasn’t going to leave Doc (Rivers) and those guys and play anywhere else.”
Clearly, the Celtics are not afraid of adding veteran talent, which makes swingman Tracy McGrady interesting.
Beyond Boston’s need for size this offseason, its other needs include: a veteran ball-handler, bench scoring, and a player that can defend on the wing. McGrady does all of that — all to a decent level at this point of his career — and at a potential bargain basement price.
The idea of leaning on him as a second-unit ball-handler when Rajon Rondo is off the court is intriguing — far more so than any of the veteran point guards available, regardless of whether the team brings back Delonte West. Add in McGrady’s time with Doc Rivers in Orlando and the move almost makes too much sense.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Monday that the biggest fallout from the highly criticized mid-February trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder was the sudden lack of continuity between the new players and, that if he could go back, he would have waited until the end of the season to make the trade instead.
“I would wait until after the year was over. I’ll put it that way,” Rivers told Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM).
“I do think Jeff Green has a chance to be a starter for us in the future and a hell of a basketball player, and [Nenad] Krstic can help, but making that trade at the time we made that trade, that made it very tough for us. And not only that, we added other pieces as well that we tried to fit in, so it was just a lot of moving parts to a team that the advantage that we had was that we had continuity, everybody else was new. Chicago was new and the Heat were new. They couldn’t fall back on what we could fall back on with our starting five, and once we made that trade, we took that advantage away.”
The Boston Globe NBA writer Gary Washburn reports that Celtics president Danny Ainge said today that coach Doc Rivers has agreed to a five-year contract extension to remain with the team.
The deal would keep Rivers in Boston through the 2015-16 season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported via Twitter the deal was worth $35 million.
Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers
After the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs by the Heat in five games, Doc Rivers told the media that he is leaning heavily toward returning as head coach of the Celtics next season.
Rivers said he came to the decision over the last couple of weeks.
“I’m a Celtic,” Rivers said, adding that his goal is to win another championship.
The Boston Celtics eased back into practice Thursday with a film session and a brief walkthrough, and coach Doc Rivers said that he expects all of his players available for Saturday’s Game 3 — including center Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaquille O'Neal, Doc Rivers
“Everybody’s good,” Rivers said. “Everybody is feeling pretty good. Shaq went through practice … we just watched film and walked over some stuff, and then, the second unit [not including O’Neal] worked on their stuff. Right now, we expect every single guy, including Shaq, to play [in Game 3].”
Rajon Rondo requested a rare post-game meeting with Doc Rivers following a difficult 97-81 loss to the Bulls.
After compiling 46 assists in the past four games, Rondo collected just six on Thursday night on 3-for-10 shooting. His counterpart, Derrick Rose, scorched the Celtics for 30 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
Rondo was visibly disappointed after the game.
“Think we need to play with a better sense of urgency,” he said before his meeting with Rivers. “It better be a wakeup call, if not, we won’t make it far. We’re a completely different team (than last year). It’s not the same team. We’re not going to be able to turn it on like we did year. I don’t know what we’re waiting on but these types of games we have to find a way to win. It’s a roller-caster and right now we went back down today.”
Check out the trailer for “NBA Backstage: The Playoffs”.
On the same night Jermaine O’Neal returned the court, the Boston Celtics lost Nenad Krstic for the foreseeable future with an injury to his right knee.
“Nenad, I don’t know,” coach Doc Rivers said after Thursday’s game, a 107-97 win over the Spurs.
“He’s out obviously this weekend. MRI. That’s as far as I’m going to go.”
Krstic left with 2:18 left in the first half of Thursday’s game after landing awkwardly on his right leg. His knee became bent out of shape and he immediately felt the pain. With the help of Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte, Krstic limped off the floor. Krstic will return home to Boston where he will undergo an MRI on Friday.
Jermaine O’Neal rejoined the Celtics on Monday following two months on the shelf after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
O’Neal could play as soon as Thursday at San Antonio, but Doc Rivers wouldn’t commit to that plan.
“I’m able to go,’’ O’Neal said. “No limitations.’’
Rivers said, “I think Jermaine has his own personal time clock. We’ll see. I hope, that would be great.’’
Boston will have Tuesday off and practice on Wednesday.
“There’s a chance [he could play Thursday], but I doubt it,’’ said Rivers. “It’s just so quick. Honestly, the only way is if we had some other injury or something. Even then, I doubt if I’d do it. I’d go with the six guys we’d have in uniform.’