Saturday, June 30, 2012
Rapid Reaction: KG's coming back
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaRapid reaction with reports indicating that Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics have agreed to a three-year, $34 million contract extension:
Kevin Garnett is reportedly coming back to Boston for three years.
* First domino falls: Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said earlier this week that Garnett promised him a decision by Saturday in order to let Boston hit the ground running when the new league year begins on Sunday. Plan A for the Celtics was always to put the core back together, and Garnett's return sets that plan into motion. Now Ainge can execute the team's preferred plan of reassembling the core and trying to add pieces to get Boston back to the NBA Finals.
* A favorable contract: At an average of about $11.3 million per season, Garnett's deal is a steal if he maintains his level of play moving forward. Even after turning 36 last season, Garnett was spectacular in the second half of the year and into the playoffs, carrying the Celtics to the cusp of the Finals with his efforts at both ends of the floor. It will be interesting to see if the third year is guaranteed and how the money is spread out on the deal, but the low number should give Boston some additional flexibility in supplementing its core. Consider this: If the Celtics can stay below the luxury-tax threshold, it would allow the team to use the full midlevel exception to attract another key element to aid their title quest.
* KG's impact on rookies: While Garnett will help Boston remain competitive now, his return will also help the future. The Celtics drafted a pair of young big men in Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in Thursday's draft, and Garnett can nurture their development, along with fellow youngsters like Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson. Garnett's ability to mold those young players should aid the transition process when he does eventually decide to hang up his high tops.
* What's next?: The spotlight will immediately shift to Ray Allen, but that situation might take longer to play out (though it's in the best interest of Boston -- given cap holds -- to address it sooner than later). Allen will undoubtedly have multiple suitors, most notably the Miami Heat, who have made him a top priority. For Allen, it will come down to whether it's worthwhile to leave the comfort of Boston and the chemistry he's developed here -- albeit having sacrificed his starting job last season -- or pursue a title run elsewhere. It could come down to how much someone else is willing to pay and the role they can offer him. Avery Bradley's emergence last season makes it a little easier to swallow for the Celtics if Allen elects to depart.