At 36, Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics’ sure-fire future Hall of Famer, is contemplating retirement after 17 years in the NBA.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he spoke with free-agent big man last week, but Ainge said no decision on Garnett’s future is imminent. That leaves Boston’s offseason plan in a state of uncertainty with the new league year approaching July 1.
“Kevin and I had a good conversation last week and the conversation was mostly on how he needs time before he makes that decision,” Ainge said during an in-studio appearance Wednesday afternoon on Boston sports radio WEEI-93.7 FM. “I think we’ll talk within the next week, but I’m not so sure that’s a decision day for him. He may want to wait and see what sort of team we have. I’m not sure.
“I know that he wants to come back. I know he likes Boston, and I know he loves playing for (coach) Doc (Rivers). He loves everything about the team and the city and so forth. I think that his decision will be, ‘Do I really want to play? Or do I not want to play.’ ”
If Garnett needs additional time for a decision, it puts Boston in a tough spot with both the NBA draft approaching later this month and cap space tied up in holds for Garnett and Ray Allen when free agency opens in early July.
“It is complicated and the timing is complicated. Juggling all these different scenarios is difficult,” Ainge said. “But the reality is that, on July 1, Kevin Garnett is on our books for $21 million until we either sign him to a new contract, or renounce him, which means we can’t re-sign him. Otherwise, it really limits our cap space.”
Ainge admitted that renouncing Garnett — or any of Boston’s big-name free agents such as Allen, Brandon Bass, or Jeff Green — is unlikely. Ainge hinted that re-signing the team’s own free agents, particularly with a slim pool of available bodies on the open market, might be the team’s best approach this offseason.