Ainge: Garnett decision to have very little impact on draft

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Ainge: Garnett decision to have very little impact on draft

WALTHAM Danny Ainge knew that the Boston Celtics would have stiff competition this summer for Kevin Garnett's services, the stiffest challenger being Father Time.

In his multiple conversations with Garnett since the C's season ended, Ainge said he has been given a sense that Garnett's decision will be between a return to Boston for an 18th NBA season, or retirement.

Because Garnett is eligible for an extension, Ainge has been able to speak freely with Garnett and his representatives leading up to free agency, which begins July 1.

Ainge said there's no deadline for Garnett to let the C's know what his intentions are, but Ainge added, "I'll know that by July 1. I'll be in communication with him, and have some sort of read on that."

If Garnett's decision doesn't come by then, Ainge acknowledged that it could put some of their plans this offseason on hold.

"The sooner we can get Kevin done, the better it would be for us, the sooner we would have an idea on what direction we need to go," said Ainge, the C's president of basketball operations. He added, "We don't want to rush him. We don't want to pressure him."

With a pair of first-round picks, the Celtics could look to add at least one big man who could help, but no one believes that a player in this draft, let alone a late first-round pick, could make up for the potential void left if Garnett decides to retire.

The best center most likely to still be on the board when the C's are on the clock at No. 21 and No. 22, is Syracuse's Fab Melo. Boston might also consider St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, the Atlantic-10 Player of the Year who recently had his first workout with the Celtics.

While Garnett's uncertain status will weigh on all the moves being considered, Ainge said it will have "very little" impact on what the Celtics do on draft night.

"With us only having four guys under contract, we need every position filled," Ainge said.

Mickael Pietrus is also a free agent, and he has made it absolutely clear that he wants to return to Boston.

He has been in town the past few weeks working out, and is anxious for Sunday -- the first day of free agency -- to arrive.

But when it does finally get here, he understands the focus for Boston will be on two letters - KG - and two numbers - 1-8, as in Banner 18.

The two have had discussions since the season, with their talks most recently centering around soccer.

"We have a bet," Pietrus said from the Celtics' practice facility on Wednesday. "He's rooting for Germany. I'm rooting for Spain. So hopefully I collect on my bet Sunday, and he signs his new contract."

Avery Bradley (illness) out vs. Suns after being hospitalized Friday

Avery Bradley (illness) out vs. Suns after being hospitalized Friday

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics find themselves once again in cut-and-paste mode with Avery Bradley (sick) out for tonight's game against the Phoenix Suns.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said rookie Jaylen Brown will be in the starting lineup.

"He (Bradley) was in the hospital most of this afternoon," Stevens said. "Hopefully he'll be home soon and get some rest. It was kind of going around. Hopefully it'll stop soon."

Being out tonight brings Bradley's missed game total to a team-high 24 (18 with a sore right Achilles; four with a strained right Achilles; and one due to illness).

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

With all attention focused on overtaking the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East, the offseason -- trades, the draft, free agency -- is on the backburner in Celtics Nation these days.

But that pot's still simmering,

And it began to boil a little today when Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, in the middle of a story on the Clippers being at a crossroad, threw a little accelerant on that old Blake Griffin-to-Boston flame . . .

But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start — perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.

Not much of a thread to grab there. But that didn't prevent cbssports.com's James Herbert from looking into it . . .  

Jumping to another contender on a max contract might not be simple. As CelticsBlog’s Keith P. Smith pointed out, Boston would have to dump Terry Rozier, waive Tyler Zeller and renounce all its free agents, including Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson, in order to even get near the amount of cap room that would be required to offer Griffin or someone like Gordon Hayward a max deal. 

Then again, Herbert says the Lakers and Thunder, Griffin's supposed other two destination spots, are even less financially flexible than the C's.

For now, it's all just a temporary diversion from the battle for No. 1.

It's also a reminder, though, that a whole new season -- the offseason -- is just around the corner.