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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kevin Garnett Returns, Signs 3-Year Extension With The Boston Celtics

Off the court, Kevin Garnett is a man of mystery. He's not on Twitter, he is rarely seen in public so when he's not playing basketball it's hard to know what he's doing or thinking. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I think we all respect his privacy.

I was confident that KG would return to the Celtics but I was more than pleasantly surprised that they have reportedly re-signed him to a three-year deal worth $34 million according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

This is wonderful news for the Celtics and their fans since it all but guarantees that Garnett will rightfully end his career in Boston and they will be a title contender the whole time. He is 36-years-old so obviously his health is the biggest issue but he proved last season (15.8 points, 8.2 rebounds) and even more so in the playoffs (19.2 points, 10.3 rebounds) that he is not washed up yet by any means.

Rajon Rondo is the best player on the C's these days but everybody recognizes that KG is still the heart and soul of the team. He's the main leader and the most consistent performer while Rondo can be very unpredictable in many ways. As it turned out, Boston might have been the second best team in the NBA last season since they went seven games with the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals (after leading 3-2). Miami ended up beating Oklahoma City in five games in the NBA Finals so that makes you think that the Celtics were painfully close to Banner 18 if they just could have closed out the Heat.

With KG locked up, the next piece for the Celts is Ray Allen. Many have speculated that the Heat and Suns (what?) are also trying to sign him when free agency begins tonight at 12:01 a.m. (free agents can't officially sign until July 11). I can't take the Phoenix rumors seriously since they don't make any sense but Miami would be a logical spot for Allen. However, they wouldn't be able to offer him nearly as much money as Boston plus with Garnett back in the fold, would Ray really want to leave now?

It has already been an interesting summer with the Celtics selecting Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph in the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday night. For the time being, this isn't a rebuilding project at all with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo not to mention Doc Rivers still employed by the C's.

The other free agents that played for Boston last season include Brandon Bass, Marquis Daniels, Keyon Dooling, Jeff Green (who missed all the games with a heart ailment), Ryan Hollins, Sasha Pavlovic and Mickael Pietrus. Of that group, Bass and Green are clearly the most important. The rest are very replaceable and nobody will notice if they are gone. Also, the C's made a qualifying offer to center Greg Stiemsma (1-year, $1.05 million) last night so I expect him to take it and return.

The most attractive (and realistic) free agent target in my mind is Jamal Crawford. I've read that the Celtics are one of the teams trying to get the veteran guard who is a great scorer off the bench. He would seemingly be a perfect fit and give Boston something they've lacked in recent years: a guy that can put up double-digits routinely off the bench. He's never won a championship and barely played in the postseason during his long NBA career so I'm sure at this point, winning is even more important to him than ever.

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