One of the criticisms of the Celtics during their second-round loss to the Heat was that Boston’s Big Three looked old trying to stay with the much younger, more athletic Big Three from Miami. So it wouldn’t be surprising if some of the off-season talk about the C’s is whether their core may start to break up.
And thanks to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullen, that talk has begun. Appearing on WEEI’s Mut & Merloni, MacMullen said she thinks we’ve seen the last of Kevin Garnett.
It’s just a gut feeling and I may be totally wrong. I’m not basing this on any reporting or anything. Other than him just disappearing into the night after the final game. I do know this: that earlier in the year i was talking to Celtics people, they were joking that KG almost had this championship in the bank and he was fretting about next year because the bleeping NBA was going to mess up the lockout year and that was going to screw them up. He knows his clock is ticking, he’s very aware of it.
MacMullen makes it very clear that this is simply her own personal feeling and nothing more. But it could certainly have some merit. As far back as last season’s NBA Finals, there was talk that Garnett would hang it up if the Celtics won another title. Of course, Boston lost Game Seven to the Los Angeles Lakers and KG came back for another season. But even in December, there was talk that Garnett could retire in the event of a lockout, which is looking like a near certainty.
But there are reasons that KG could decide to give it one more try. 21 million of them to be exact. That’s how much he’s owed in the final year of his contract. It could also mean one last hurrah for the Celtics as we currently know them.
Depending on whom you ask, Shaquille O’Neal could return for the final year of his deal (Danny Ainge thinks he’ll retire. Shaq’s mom thinks he’ll be back). Ray Allen has one season left on his contract. Paul Pierce is signed through 2014 and Rajon Rondo is under contract through 2015. With Doc Rivers having just signed a five-year extension, it wouldn’t be shocking if the band got back together for one last championship chase.