Rajon Rondo is done for the rest of this season, and quite likely for the first half of the 2013-14 NBA campaign. And while there will be much focus on Rondo’s health, and deservedly so, there will also be a new level of scrutiny placed on the future of players like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Let’s recap: Last season, the undermanned Celtics over-performed their way all the way to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Actually had a closeout Game 6 in Boston. Our C’s ultimately fall short to the Miami Heat, and thus began an offseason of uncertainty in Beantown. Would Ainge blow things up? Would he try to make another run with an aging Big Three?
Everything, of course, hinged on the future of Kevin Garnett. The Big Ticket took his time, and then decided to come back instead of retiring, signing for two years with under-the-table assurances from the Celtics that he wouldn’t be part of a trade package. And just like that, everything else started to fall into place.
Flash forward to Sunday. Rajon Rondo has an ACL tear, and he won’t be coming back through that door anytime soon.
And with the Celtics struggling mightily this season, barely on the radar in terms of being a playoff team, one can’t help but wonder what must be running through the mind of our very own KG.
It’s safe to say that he didn’t come back for this. Not to scratch and claw and eek his way into the playoffs, only to get abused in the first round and then spend the rest of the summer watching the elite teams rise to the top. No, Garnett had more than his fair share of first round playoff exits while toiling away in Minnesota.
So, what’s next for Garnett?
This season is fairly straightforward; Garnett will continue to play like the warrior that he is, fighting until the last second ticks off of his 2012-13 season, whenever and wherever that may be. He’ll publicly say the right things, that the Celtics are a better team than they’re showing, and that they’re going to iron out the problems and peak at the right time.
But, privately? You have to imagine that KG is beyond disappointed with the way things have gone. He knows, like the rest of us, that we need another big body who can play major minutes and have an effect in the win/loss column.
Still, he has no other choice but to keep playing. See where this season takes him.
Don’t be surprised if KG retires rather than come back next season, when the rebuilding may be in full earnest. The proud warrior has a lot of tread worn off the tires, and this may end up being his last hurrah.
Without Ray Allen.
Without Rajon Rondo.
Who woulda thunk it?