It appears that Sam Cassell is attempting to make his greatest contribution to the Boston Celtics four years after last playing — or riding the bench — for them.
Jackie MacMullan, who just so happens to be one of the greatest writers in the history of writing, wrote a piece today on Doc Rivers and the Celtics moving forward. In it, MacMullan talks a little bit about Kevin Garnett and reveals a little inside information given to her from one of Garnett's closest friends. (ESPN Boston)
The coach will make a major push to retain Garnett, who was the architect of Boston's Renaissance period. KG has told friends for the past two seasons that he would retire when his contract was up. The injury to his knee robbed him of some of his lift, and he often left the arena in considerable pain after games.
Garnett's trusted friend Sam Cassell said KG was still talking about retiring as recently as 10 days ago, but Cassell was trying to persuade him otherwise. Cassell's advice: Play as long as you can.
"KG is a loyal guy," Cassell said. "I can't see him playing for anyone else except Doc at this point."
I'm pretty sure that it would be an overstatement to say that it all comes down to Sam Cassell. Still, Cassell is a guy who rode his NBA career as long as it would take him. I'm not sure how much of a wordsmith Sam is, but if he can convince KG to come back for another year or two, Celtics fans will have no choice but to forgive him for all of the terrible jump shots he took back in 2008.
In all seriousness, the fact that Garnett was talking about retirement just a week and a half ago — at a time when he was playing as well as he had ever played in a Celtics uniform — makes me think that he won't want to endure another 82-game season. The hard work and intensity that KG puts in and shells out on a nightly basis takes its toll and he's going to be 37 years old by the time next year's postseason gets going. He can still play and he can obviously get the job done, but I'm starting to come to the conclusion that he isn't going to want to go through the six months of meaningless, regular-season games just to make another playoff run.
Come on, Sam! Prove me wrong.
P.S. - Read the entire piece by Jackie Mac. It's outstanding.