Ainge thinks Garnett will return 'but I'm just not certain'

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Ainge thinks Garnett will return 'but I'm just not certain'

Danny Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations, says he thinks Kevin Garnett will return to the team in 2012-13 "but I'm just not certain."

Garnett, an unrestricted free agent, has talked about retirement, but also figures to draw attention from contenders on the open market. Ainge, however, believes Garnett will only play in Boston if he chooses to continue his career.

"I don't want to speak for Kevin," Ainge said Wednesday on WEEI Radio's 'The Big Show'. "I know he wants to come back to Boston if he wants to play -- that's what he has shared at this stage -- but I'm not holding him to that. I know he's got a lot of options."

If Garnett's status isn't decided by July 1, which is when teams can begin negotiations with free agents (though they can't begin signing them until July 10), the Celtics would be in a state of limbo regarding how they would build their roster for next year. Still, Ainge said he isn't pressing Garnett for a decision.

"I really don't want to push Kevin," he said. "I mean, obviously, we have to get some answers by July 1. Right now, I'm just letting him get back to me and hopefully he'll do that soon."

Ainge said Garnett understands that dragging out his decision could hurt the Celtics.

"He doesn't want to do that. He's not looking to do that," Ainge said. "Kevin's a team guy and the last thing he wants to do is put us in a tough position. He wants to help us and hopefully he wants to come back.

"I think he will, but I'm just not certain."

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

Bradley locked in during return to Celtics lineup vs. Hornets

BOSTON – When you look at Avery Bradley’s growth this season, seeing the tremendous strides he has made offensively is clear.

But at the heart of Bradley’s game remains a desire to dominate a matchup as a defender, something that was alive and well on Monday as he made his return to the floor after missing the four previous games with an Achilles strain.

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Bradley’s defense would prove instrumental in Boston’s 108-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

He was 2-for-9 from the field and played nearly 33 minutes against Hornets which is just a couple minutes under his season average of court time.

Usually he’s responsible for providing a boost at both ends of the floor.

But considering his long lay-off, it was clear early on that he was locked in defensively more so than looking to get back on track shooting the ball.

“You take any type of games off in this league, your rhythm and all that you gotta get it back,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.

Even though his shots weren’t falling, Bradley was on top of his game defensively while guarding 6-foot-8 Nicolas Batum who is six inches taller but never was a factor on Monday.

Batum finished with eight points on 2-for-11 shooting from the field.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked what he got out of Bradley in his return to action.

“I thought he (Bradley) was great,” Stevens told CSNNE.com. “He did everything we needed him to do. We knew there would be a little bit of rust (shooting the ball), but that’s part of you playing your way back into it.”

As far as Bradley’s stifling defense on Batum, Stevens said, “You have to do that against Batum. I thought Avery did a really good job of that. It’s a hard matchup no matter what way you go. Batum, giving up inches to him. He (Bradley) was there on the catch all night.”

And as Bradley gradually gets back into a flow, he’ll regain the form offensively that made him one of the NBA’s better two-way players this season.