Which way is KG leaning?
Danny Ainge can deny it all he wants, but if Kevin Garnett doesn't make his intentions known to the Celtics before draft night, that's a huge disadvantage. If he's not coming back, then the rebuilding/retool/reboot process has to start in earnest very soon. If he does come back, his salary will be a huge driver in determining how much money we have to spend on July 1st (which is also important for who the Celtics can trade for and what additional salaries they can take back).
With all that said, nobody is going to be rushing Kevin Garnett into making a decision.
"We’re having conversations with Kevin but I don’t have any answers whether he’s coming back or not," Ainge said during a press conference. "I don’t think it’ll happen quickly, no. "Yeah, we can be on hold. The sooner we can get Kevin done, the sooner the better for us. The sooner we can know which direction we want to go. But we don’t want to rush him, we don’t want to pressure him. You guys know Kevin."
We also know that he's insanely protective of his privacy. Some of his own teammates have no idea where he lives. He's happy to take fines for skipping media sessions - that's money well spent to him. As charming and bizarrely eloquent as he is, he prefers to run from the limelight rather than to it.
Finally, we know that he's going to do what's best for his team - and in this situation his "team" is his family. Some guys would look at the $10M plus that he's likely to be offered and consider it a no-brainer to return. KG's made his money. I'm sure he'll take it and he won't likely take a vet min deal just to save the Celtics cap room (it's a respect thing), but if he wants to spend more time with his family and stop putting his body through all the things he has to just to be ready to play, the money won't matter one lick to him. Same goes for career stats, recognition, and all that.
In the end, Kevin is going to do what's right for his family. The only reason I'm optimistic that he's going to return is that he probably thinks of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo as family as well. Doc Rivers too, especially Doc Rivers.
But Doc has his own family to worry about tonight and it is Danny Ainge that will be making the important decisions for the Celtics at the draft. It would be great if he knew if the franchise cornerstone on defense and Hall of Fame lock is going to come back for one more run.
Update: Peter May is reporting that KG will give Ainge a decision by Saturday (June 30) the day before free agent season kicks off.