The vultures are circling in Boston. The Celtics will probably still make the playoffs without Rajon Rondo, but the chances of them winning a round are slim. For Kevin Garnett, that would be another short postseason, and would leave him heading into next year at 37 years old and with two more years remaining on his current deal. He’s an All-Star this season, averaging 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds a night, yet a few NBA GMs believe his body is on the cusp of giving out.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise, even if Garnett is maniacal about staying in shape and has managed to play 18 seasons in the NBA. We all thought he was done a few seasons ago when he returned from missing an entire postseason with a knee injury, and spent the following year hopping around on one leg. Somehow, KG found a second wind that lasted for a few seasons.
But ESPN’s Ric Bucher talked with two GMs who believe there’s no chance Garnett plays out the final two seasons of his contract. Bucher writes:
The execs have the ultimate respect for KG, they simply believe, no matter how he works, he can’t squeeze another two seasons out of his legs and won’t want to hang around just to hang around. I find it hard to imagine KG not taking, and finding, whatever means necessary to stay on the court for as long as he possibly can, but his athleticism and mobility have fallen off precipitously this season.
Garnett’s numbers have indeed dipped as the Celtics have struggled to hang around .500, but his presence is still enough to make them dangerous. For every 100 defensive possessions, the team is nearly nine points better with him on the floor than off it, according to 82games.com. Having Garnett no longer means you’re automatically a top five defense, but he still must be considered one of the better low post defenders in the league.
They’ll inevitably be talk over the next few weeks about dealing Kevin Garnett now that Rondo is gone for the year. Paul Pierce‘s name has come up as well, as they’re both older vets who could be the difference for five or six would-be contenders. I doubt the Celtics do anything drastic this season, but once the summer hits and this core is another year older, who knows?
The final year of Garnett’s deal in 2014-15 is only $6 million guaranteed if he’s waived on or before July 15, 2014. With the massive luxury tax penalties looming, it will be interesting to see which direction Boston goes.
How much longer will KG play?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.