By Chris Bernucca ,dpa
LOS ANGELES — Hours before the start of free agency, the Boston Celtics took one of the biggest names off the market Saturday by reportedly re-signing Kevin Garnett to a three-year contract. The Boston Herald, citing a pair of unidentified sources, reported that Garnett and the Celtics will work out a deal for at least two years and perhaps a third season. Yahoo Sports reported the deal is for 34 million dollars over three years.
Garnett, 36, had been considering retirement. The Celtics were considering a rebuilding plan that would have broken up the “Big Three” of veteran stars Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, also a free agent.
“The decision came down to whether KG wanted to keep playing,” a source told the newspaper. “And once he decided that he did, it was going to be Boston. He wasn’t going to leave Doc (Celtics coach Doc Rivers) and those guys and play anywhere else.” The 7-footer (213-centimeters) averaged 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in the regular season and boosted those numbers to 19.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in the postseason. The Celtics made a surprising run within one win of the NBA Finals before losing to the eventual champion Miami Heat. Garnett would be taking a tremendous pay cut from the 21.2 million dollars he made this season. That saved money could help the Celtics retain Allen, 36, the sharpshooting guard who reportedly has interest from the Heat. Boston also has decisions on free agent forwards Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus of France. The top available player is All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who reportedly is only considering re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets or playing for his hometown Dallas Mavericks alongside German star Dirk Nowitzki. Williams’ destination is of great interest because he has been linked to superstar center Dwight Howard, who has one year remaining on his contract and has asked the Orlando Magic for a trade. Howard has indicated he would like to play alongside Williams, but would have to be acquired in a trade and wants a contract extension. Both the Nets and Mavericks are on his short list of preferred teams. Teams unable to lure Williams may turn their attention to All-Star point guard Steve Nash of Canada, a two-time MVP who has indicated he is willing to leave the Phoenix Suns. He has been linked to the Mavericks, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors.