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What do we do with… Kevin Garnett?

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) May 7, 2013 Celtics News, Kevin Garnett 49 Comments

The offseason is here for the Boston Celtics, and in just a couple of months, they will begin the process of putting next year’s team together.  We will take a look at the current Celtics and try to figure out what to do with each of them.  We continue today with Kevin Garnett.

Kevin Garnett finds himself in a significantly better position than Paul Pierce (profiled at great length yesterday due to the complexity of his situation).

While Pierce has no choice but to sit and wait for what Danny Ainge may do to his career, Garnett has the Celtics at his mercy.  The reality is, none of the stuff the Celtics can “do” with Kevin Garnett can be done without Garnett signing off on it.  He is in total control of his own destiny.

So the Celtics options with Garnett are limited, to say the least.  Every option involving him no longer being a Celtic begins with sitting him down and saying “Hey Kevin, we’re about to embark on a summer of moves aimed at long-term success, which means we do not expect to contend next season.”

Convince him to retire

After that conversation is had, the Celtics can lay out a plan that shows KG that they’re serious about this.  This would have to involve the departure of Paul Pierce so Garnett knows the team is serious about taking a full step into the next phase of its existence.

The key in this scenario is to make sure KG files retirement papers.  That’s the only way to get him to forgo his remaining salary.  If he doesn’t, then the Celtics are screwed, because then they would have to figure out a buyout and that barely give the Celtics any cap relief this season.  It’s possible that Garnett could quit, but not file papers, and cause the Celtics to not even get under the cap because he forced a buyout.  That would be a nightmare scenario.

Garnett’s retirement is a dicey situation, especially if he feels like it’s being done in a disloyal fashion.  He holds enough cards to screw with the Celtics.

Convince him to be traded

The Celtics could finish the above conversation with “we’d like to know if there are any teams to which you’d prefer to be traded.  Give us a list of teams, and we’ll talk to them.”

Chances are that list would be short, and it would probably involved revisiting talks with the Clippers.  But who knows?  Maybe he’d want to go full circle and finish with Minnesota?  Maybe Golden State is a good young team where he’ll feel appreciated?  Maybe he’d want to play for a coach like Gregg Popovich in San Antonio?

We don’t know because none of us are in a position to ask.  But if Garnett doesn’t want to retire and Danny is adamant about moving on without him, then it’s a discussion to be had.

The downfall to this is you can’t expect to get much for Garnett.  Yes, he just boarded like a beast in the playoffs, but he turns 37 in just a few days (May 19.  Mark your calendars.  Send him a nice edible arrangement or something).  Teams know he can only play about 20-25 minutes a game during the regular season, and he might quit after a year.  That’s not the type of guy, no matter what his pedigree, that teams will entice teams to mortgage their futures.

Keep him

Like I said, the options are limited with Garnett.  Buying him out is not really an option because the only reason to get rid of Garnett is to bring in other, younger players to fill needs or to get the $12.4 million off the books.  A buyout does neither.  And since his contract next season is much like Paul Pierce’s (KG is set to make $12 million, but only $6 million is guaranteed.  Celtics can cut him before July 15, 2014 for a $6 million savings), I wonder what the real rush is to get Garnett off the ledger.

The futures of Pierce and Garnett have been tied together since Garnett said what happens to Pierce will have a big impact on his future.  But while everyone ASSUMES that means he’ll quit, it might not mean that at all.  And you can’t make a move with Pierce and then sit and pray that Garnett says “well, that’s all folks.”  He may ask to be released.  He may demand a trade.  He could do nothing and say “you know what, I’ll roll with Doc and the young fellas for a little while.”

So to recap…

  • Kevin Garnett retiring and filing papers would save the Celtics the full $12 million on their cap.  KG would be out of the league for at least a year before he could return, should he change his mind.
  • Garnett asking for his release would require a buyout, and would leave most of his money still on the cap, including the guaranteed money he’s due next season.
  • Trading Garnett would require the Celtics to match salaries, and at most, another team can take in 150% + $100,000 of the outgoing value of the trade.  That would save a few million as far as the cap goes. 
  • Keeping Garnett would leave things unchanged. 

My take

There’s nothing that says keeping Garnett and Pierce delays any progression of this team.  Even if both go, and even if the full $27 million comes off the books, the Celtics would get down to about a $49 million payroll, leaving them about $8-$9 million to spend on a free agent.  Run down this list and tell me who you want with that kind of money?

Of course, being under the cap allows for other forms of flexibility, including the ability to make unbalanced trades and bid on players released under the Amnesty Provision.  And if the Celtics do cut ties with Pierce, and if that does make Garnett quit, then the Celtics can try to take advantage of their financial flexibility.

However, they can do it next year without forcing the issue and possibly angering Garnett in the process.  He holds all the cards right now, but he won’t next season.  The Celtics can make whatever decisions they want about Paul Pierce, but they should do it independent of what they think Garnett might do.  I say the Celtics roll with what they have one more year, shift the focus to the new core of young guys, and have another year of learning under KG and Pierce before both are gone… or at the very least back under radically different circumstances.

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  • MrCuret

    Well, it seems like the Celtics are pretty much screwed next season with PP & KG’s contracts. I guess just ride next season with both of them. Anyways, after next season Pierce’s contract comes off the books & KG’s not fully guaranteed. But it’s Danny Ainge’s fault for giving KG & Terry those 3 yr deals, so he better pray that Ryan McDonough gets the job as the Suns GM (seems like he will) so they can work a trade for Gortat, maybe for Lee, Crawford & Melo. Phoenix is rebuilding anyways & Gortat doesn’t want to be there. Anything’s possible!

    • EricKrasnauskas

      Gortat, yes! I’ve been saying his name for years.

    • forever_green

      That’s a good idea, maybe we get Gortat for even less.

      • MrCuret

        Well, if you think about it, it makes sense. 1)McDonough was the C’s assist. GM & he helped with drafting Sullinger & Melo. 2) Phoenix is rebuilding & Gortat doesn’t want to be there. Besides, the Suns need SG & Lee & Crawford are SGs & are young. Melo would develop as their center, plus the salaries match. 3) There were reports before the trade deadline that Boston was trying to trade for Gortat, so hopefully now the deal could go thru with McDonough as the GM. Just my opinion.

  • lunchbreak

    wishful thinking here… but wouldn’t it be awesome if KG came back as a defensive coach under Doc..

    • vitamin d

      That idea makes me wanna drool…… YES PLEASE

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Glushchenko/100001109386003 Andrew Glushchenko

      He sad, that he is fed up with basketball and will not be a coach. I guarantee it.

    • rhoner

      Why not as a player.coach? How does thed CBA address that situation?

  • EricKrasnauskas

    They’ve both got 1 more productive season in them, I say keep ‘em around.

    • Chulinho

      We’ve all been saying that since 2010. I’d prefer to keep them around forever, but change is inevitable.

      • ShawnCVD

        So we make the change naturally in one year instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole…

        • Chulinho

          A lot can happen in a year.

      • EricKrasnauskas

        Garnett had a pretty good season, didn’t he? Even though the rest of the team was a hot mess of mediocre talent, he was still putting up double-doubles most nights. Why wouldn’t we want to keep that?

        • Chulinho

          It’s because of the surrounding pieces that KG was forced to rack up double-doubles. Let me be clear: I want KG (and Pierce) to stick around, but if the “other guys” don’t play well what’s it all for? What’s the point of another year mediocrity and running two all-time greats further into retirement?

  • Roy

    I think KG will likely retire. If Pierce isn’t wearing green next season, Garnett is probably retiring or playing elsewhere.

    • vitamin d

      KG will either play for the Celtics or retire. Not much of a chance he’ll choose another team to play for

  • eddysamson

    I am not too good with cap-space/tax/contracts and what not. I can’t tell…cap-wise are we in a similar position next year if we keep both PP and KG? If that’s the case I’d almost rather we trade them this off-season and start rebuilding now before we waste any more of Rondo’s prime (if he’s staying since he’s always in trade talks too).

    Then again I guess its a tough call…would you rather have KG+PP on the bench or (lets say they trade with the Clips minus the Doc sillyness) DeAndre Jordan + Bledsoe + Butler?

    • http://redsarmy.com/ John Karalis

      Next year, Pierce is not under contract and Kevin Garnett’s deal is only guaranteed for $6 million. So we have a LOT more flexibility next season.

      • eddysamson

        I see, makes some sense to keep them then.

      • John Smith

        We may have more flexibility in 2014, but there’s still pretty much no young big guys in free agency. Unless you want Larry Sander, Greg Monroe or Demarcus Cousins. I think 2015 free agency makes more sense.

        • http://twitter.com/REDSLOVECHILD RED`S LOVE CHILD

          No player kicked Boston`s ass this year more than Larry Sanders did.

          His numbers against them {RPG, FG%} were ridiculous!

          • John Smith

            He’s still a restricted FA though. I see more of a future in 2015 free agency than in 2014 free agency. Larry Sanders is good, but he’s not the face of a franchise, not yet anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/REDSLOVECHILD RED`S LOVE CHILD

    When KG hugged Rivers, after being pulled from Game 6…that was not “goodbye, Doc, I`ll see you next fall in training camp”.

    It was…..”Goodbye”.

    • http://redsarmy.com/ John Karalis
      • http://twitter.com/REDSLOVECHILD RED`S LOVE CHILD

        This one had a very different feel to it.

        Last year, he wasn`t facing off-season ankle surgery or a hip problem.

        As recently as 3 months ago, KG made it clear this would be his final All-Star game {“Y`all don`t know what I know”}.

        As recently as 3 days go, Rivers said about KG…”I was positive last year he was coming back. I have no clue this year”.

  • forever_green

    Just wondering what you guys think, can the Bulls actually Beat the Heat in a seven game series? That would be great.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.gallagher.357 Jimmy Gallagher

      Not that you were explicitly asking for my opinion, but I think the Heat win it in 6 after last night. Miami is vulnerable to physical teams who aren’t scared of them (aka Chicago and Boston). If they had DRose and Deng I think Chicago would have a good shot at them. With all the injuries though, I don’t see it.

      • forever_green

        Yeah, I didn’t think the Bulls had a shot, now I’m not sure…something felt good inside watching Nate drive past Ray.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.gallagher.357 Jimmy Gallagher

    Would Devin Harris be good as a backup pg? We really, really need someone to back up Rondo. Also, what does everyone think of Chris Andersen? I liked him in Denver. We could use a rebounder too. I know he had some off the court issues. Have those been cleared up? Also, any way we can get Big Al back? Or, unpopular opinion alert, would it be worth kicking the tires on Andrew Bynum? I think the Celtics need size for rebounding an a backup pg. I like Rondo, Green, and Bradley as starters. I worry about Sully’s injury history and apart from KG, do we have a power forward? I think I’d rather play Green as a sf. I dunno, what does everyone else think? I think we have a really solid backcourt with Rondo and Avery. I also think Green has the potential to be an all star caliber player. If we could add a quality big man who could run with them I think we would be a top 4 team in the East again (seriously).

    • ShawnCVD

      Kicking the figurative tires of Bynum would most likely lead to additional injuries to his literal knees.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.gallagher.357 Jimmy Gallagher

        Hahahah great point.

    • John Smith

      We should just bring back Dooling to back up Rondo. He plays defence and can run the offence in pressure situations. That’s all we need from a back up PG, an actual point guard, who’s a solid ball handler, and can knock down shots. If we need more production off the bench, sending Pierce to a sixth man role with the same minutes wouldn’t be an awful idea.

      This team doesn’t need drastic changes to get back to playoff relevancy next year, they just need to stay healthy and get a centre and back up point guard. If they can get Kaman or Dalembert, and sign/sign and trade for a good back up point guard, they’ll be good.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.gallagher.357 Jimmy Gallagher

        Fair enough. I like the idea of PP playing as a sixth man. I know he’s given up numbers the last few years, but do you think he’s willing to do that too?

        • John Smith

          I don’t see why he’d care if Doc spoke to him about it, he handed over the leadership role to Rondo for the betterment of the team. He’d still play the same minutes and be in close games down the stretch.

          I think that’d stabilize the bench and allow Green to develop properly for when Pierce leaves in one or two years. This way, the cap doesn’t hurt in re-structuring the team, because the bench becomes one of the best in the NBA through interior moves.

        • Chief_00

          If it means that he retires a Celtic then I’d think he’d be open to it

  • Bledgreen

    The new CBA is making it so even if kg and pp retire than we will still not be able to sign a star caliber player in the offseason. They are unintentallt only helping the big market teams willing to play the luxury tax. Miami NYK LA to name a few.

  • pierce Hart

    Can I ask what the whole plan is for 2014 when pierce and KG will go off the books. We will need to get rid of Terry and Lee for Capspace and pick up a superstar in the front court with Bradley and Sullinger making big leaps. The only place I’d know where to start in terms of a rebuild is clear Lee and Terry’s contract, the what

  • dk

    Love listening to ESPN Broussard and SAS “report” about “rumors”. At one point Chris Broussard just said–and also Nets might want to think about Doc Rivers–even though he’s under contract for 3 more years–it may be a more enticing scenario since Boston will be in rebuilding mode. HUH? How are these statements allowed on television? Is there no requirement for them to even report actual news or even plausible scenarios that even make sense? THE GUY IS UNDER CONTRACT! This isnt NCAA Football–coaches don’t just leave to goto other programs (especially a worse situation with a crazy owner).
    “Even though we can’t because we won’t and we shouldn’t assuming all that–its possible.”
    Anybody can go on tv and make $hit up and toss out teams’ wish lists. Why not also say Pop is a candidate too–hes the best coach in the league and he’s got an old team too. Ridiculous

  • Chris Laterza

    Clone him

  • KGino

    What should we do with KG? KEEP THE MAN. Sullinger could use another year of tutelage.

  • kobe

    You know what, trade him, KG quits, or KG stays, nothing will change. KG is not the problem, the problem is Ainge, how would you expect a team to really compete with Dleaguers, rejects, and CBA players that’s just ridiculous. Look at Avery Bradley, he can’t even guard Fat Felton. If you really don’t want KG then send him to LA. Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, and Chris Duhon will be enough for Kevin Garnett.

  • kobe

    and for Pierce that old slow dude doesn’t belong to the NBA.

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    Keep him. Get rid of Ainge

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