Garnett, Celtics focusing on upcoming season

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Garnett, Celtics focusing on upcoming season

WALTHAM The last go-around for the Big Three. The window closing.

Spin it how you want, but there's a pretty good chance Kevin Garnett has heard some incarnation of it over the past few seasons.

And like a 5-foot-9 guard trying to score over him in the lane, Garnett rejected the question emphatically.

"Next question," he said.

Even though he's 35 years old and has spent nearly half his life in the NBA, the future is something Garnett doesn't give much thought to right now.

He's more consumed with the Celtics season opener against New York on Christmas Day. And once he unwraps a few presents after the game, he'll turn his attention to the next item on the Celtics' docket at Miami on Tuesday.

"I've been getting that question throughout the whole year," said Garnett, who truthfully, has been getting that question for the last two or three years. "I don't anticipate the future, because things are not set in stone. I'm not a person to go back on my word, so I don't know."

For Garnett, the idea of entertaining life beyond this truncated 66-game schedule is a dead issue.

"I'm not even going to give it any air," he said. "Because whatever this year presents itself to be, it would be just that. And the next year, everybody will come back and make a decision."

That doesn't mean he's completely oblivious to the reality that this may very well be his last go-around with this current core group which includes himself, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.

"I'm cherishing a lot more not knowing what the future is," he said. "I'm embracing younger guys a little more; younger guys that want to work, embrace our culture and what we do here."

Following Thursday's practice, Garnett was barking out instructions to rookies Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson, both looking on intently.

Garnett has a well-earned reputation for tuning out rookies that don't work hard, don't listen, or both.

When asked if the two rookie big men were listening to Garnett's words of advice, coach Doc Rivers, grinning, said, "Clearly."

"All you have to do is watch," he added, "and see that he's still talking to them. The answer is yes."

Garnett has also been a major influence on Rondo.

Rondo will be the first to acknowledge that early on his career with the Big Three, he and Garnett butted heads a lot.

"I got into it with a lot of people my first couple years," Rondo said. "But we rely on each other. Kevin is one of my best friends on the team right now. Kendrick Perkins left, and I think it kind of made us closer. Kevin and I talk a lot lately, we're trying to stay on the same page. Both working on our attitudes for the better of the team. And me just growing up as a leader, he's been one of my mentors."

And that mentoring begins with Garnett's ability to lead both verbally and by example.

"Kevin is a great leader. If you want a leader, you want a guy like Kevin on your team, on your side," Rondo said. "He works hard. He does by it by his play, not necessarily his talk. He does a lot of talking too, but he backs it up. He's a future Hall of Famer. He's done a lot in this league. For having him as a mentor, a leader, whatever you want to call it, he's a great addition to anyone's team."

WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

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WATCH: Bruins' Backes battles with Benn right after opening faceoff

Now THIS is old-time hockey!

There's bad blood between the Bruins' David Backes and the Stars' Jamie Benn that goes back a long way, most recently in last spring's Dallas-St. Louis playoff series when Backes was still with the Blues. They met again today -- and the ungodly (hockey) hour of 11:30 a.m. Dallas time -- for a nationally televised game between Backes' new team, the Bruins, and the Stars.

And it didn't take long for the two to renew acquaintances . . .

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

Pistons to honor Hamilton, who had impact on several Celtics

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
 
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
 
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
 
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
 
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
 
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
 
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
 
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
 
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
 
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
 
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
 
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
 
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
 
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.