Ainge says Garnett considering retirement
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spoke with free-agent center center Kevin Garnett last week, though Ainge said Garnett hasn’t made a decision on his future.
Garnett, 36, is pondering retirement despite finishing strongly in his 17th season. He needs time to reflect, putting Boston’s offseason plans in an uncertain state.
“Kevin and I had a good conversation last week and the conversation was mostly on how he needs time before he makes that decision,” Ainge told Boston sports radio station WEEI-93.7 FM. “I think we’ll talk within the next week, but I’m not so sure that’s a decision day for him. He may want to wait and see what sort of team we have. I’m not sure.
“I know that he wants to come back. I know he likes Boston, and I know he loves playing for (coach) Doc (Rivers). He loves everything about the team and the city and so forth. I think that his decision will be, ‘Do I really want to play? Or do I not want to play.’”
The longer Garnett delays, the more difficult Boston’s situation becomes, with the NBA draft later this month and cap space allocated in holds for Garnett and Ray Allen when free agency opens in early July.
“It is complicated and the timing is complicated. Juggling all these different scenarios is difficult,” Ainge said. “But the reality is that, on July 1, Kevin Garnett is on our books for $21 million until we either sign him to a new contract, or renounce him, which means we can’t re-sign him. Otherwise, it really limits our cap space.”
— Rob Hennigan was introduced as the Orlando Magic’s new general manager on Thursday, making the 30-year-old Hennigan the youngest GM in the NBA.
Hennigan, who replaced Otis Smith with the Magic, spent the past four seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the four years before that with the San Antonio Spurs. The last two seasons he was the hunder’s assistant general manager for player personnel.
Hennigan faces several challenges with Orlando. He must hire a new head coach and deal with Dwight Howard’s uncertain future with the team as well as prepare for the June 28 draft.
—Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant isn’t just popular in the United States.
Bryant’s No. 24 jersey is the top-selling garment internationally for the 2011-12 season, according to numbers released by the NBA.
The 16-time All-Star was first in overall international sales and topped the field in three regional subcategories including China, Europe and Latin America. Bryant has led jersey sales in China for six straight years.
In the U.S., the top-selling jersey belonged to the Chicago Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose. The league bases its list on sales information from adidas locations outside the county. Adidas is the official apparel provider of the NBA.
Rounding out the top five sellers internationally were Rose, the Miami Heat’s LeBron James, the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett and the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard.