If Doc Rivers had his wish, he’d have all three of the Big Three in Boston back next season, it sounds like. Now it’s time to parse how much of that feeling is sentimental or practical on the Celtics’ part. We’ve read a lot of reports saying that Kevin Garnett is the most likely to return after his playoffs where he got nasty and snarly like his old 2004 self. Ray Allen is the question mark we are the most interested in seeing how it plays out.He said after the Game 7 loss on Saturday that he has a lot of basketball left in his legs, but are those ankles agreeing with that statement? He’ll need some kind of surgery for the bone spurs that didn’t let him cut off screens or guard anyone in these playoffs. Sports Illustrated sounded as if Chicago or Memphis are two of the leading contenders for him, and the Grizz make sense in that they offered up O.J. Mayo for him during the season before backing out. Isn’t Boston’s Jesus just the same as Chicago’s Rip Hamilton this season? And what did that exactly do for the Bulls? The notion of bringing back Garnett seems like a no-brainer. Dude will beat you senseless before he lets you get past him on the court and you’ve never had to question his heart. Like any older player, it’s all about those knees. We wouldn’t count on KG doing the types of things he did in this postseason — in fact, we’d strongly hedge it — in an 82-game season, but if Boston can get to the playoffs again you know he’ll bring it. … Side note: We know Mayo has come on as a pretty good role player for the Grizz, but who knew he was so valued by two well-run organizations? Indiana’s nearly gone GM David Morway is getting fired by Larry Bird because he couldn’t get a deal done to get Mayo in training camp, and Ainge loved his ability to get his own shot, too. … Last word on those Celtics: We’ve read a lot of stuff on both sides about how KG and Rajon Rondo left the court early after Game 7 and not shaking anyone’s hands. What’s the appropriate level of outrage on this? We’re thinking it’s not that much to the players. While it’s not the savviest PR move in the world, we bet the Heat players got a hold of those dudes later that night to say what they would have said. … Hit the jump to read about what’s made a difference for the King.
If any journalist knows LeBron James it’s Brian Windhorst of ESPN, and formerly of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. We’re not saying LBJ has accepted the guy as his long-lost brother, but all the time around Windhorst allowed him to write today about “the other decision” James made last offseason. Apparently he holed up in his mansion for two weeks, not shaving, playing basketball or talking basketball. If it sounds like the rising action from the plot of a basketball movie where the hero returns to conquer at the site of his past frustrations, it’s actually how he went about his business. Once he ended his self-imposed Grizzly Adams seclusion, he decided to make big changes in his game and how he prepared, getting off Twitter, going to bed earlier, and working up the nerve to propose to his girlfriend and mother of his two children. Moving his family from Ohio to Florida also was a big move to ease the mental stress, apparently, for James. He’s more relaxed. He’s not searching for The Zone so much as he is finding himself suddenly in it, unable (and not worried to find out) how he got there. … Notes from around the league include Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley saying he isn’t thinking of trading Rudy Gay at all. Also staying put (at least in his words) is Roy Hibbert in Pacerland. He’s also recently tweeted that he’s just stepped back in the gym for the first time. We’re very interested to see if he doesn’t become a one-All-Star-wonder. … Just kidding on the Celtics. We’re not done yet because of his hilarious bit from Boston’s mayor, who can’t remember a damn name to save his life. He told reporters late last week: “There’s a lot of heart in this team, let me just tell you. KJ is great but Hondo is really the inspiration. Hondo drives that team.” Dude. We’re sure the Patriots’ Will Melibeck can feel empathy for those poor mispronounced C’s players. … You’re Kevin Durant. You’re still playing for an NBA title this week, but after that you were looking forward to some well-deserved, uh, Olympic practice. A word of advice before he quibbles with USA hoops boss Jerry Colangelo about the workload: don’t. Colangelo hinted that maybe the NBA superstar Olympic model will be thrown out after London. The idea floated was a U23 model to hopefully snare young guys whose legs won’t be shot after a full season plus an Olympics. Would this model also be replicated for the World Championships? Only Jerry knows if it’ll come off. At the least, it’s some motivation for this year’s team to go all out because it could be the last. … We’re out like Hondo & KJ.
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