BOSTON — Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce believes Kevin Garnett’s No. 5 will quickly dangle alongside Pierce’s No. 34 within the rafters at TD Garden.
After Pierce’s quantity was retired Sunday in Boston, the 10-time All-Star puzzled if, in an period of gamers switching groups in free company, it may be some time earlier than Boston’s subsequent quantity retirement. Pierce later advised ESPN that he believes Garnett is a slam-dunk to be part of him.
“Without a doubt, KG’s number will be [the next one] retired in Boston,” stated Pierce. “It’s going to happen.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stated the staff has had casual discussions about retiring Garnett’s quantity, however remaining resolution would come from possession.
Pierce, who performed his first 15 seasons in Boston, signed a one-day contract with the Celtics final summer time so as to retire as a member of the staff. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck later referred to as Pierce to inform him the staff deliberate to retire his No. 34 this season.
Pierce’s was the 22nd quantity retired by the Celtics. Some argue that Garnett, who performed six seasons in Boston after being acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves, did not have an extended sufficient tenure to have his jersey retired.
“It was six years of potential championship-caliber teams and All-Star play from KG,” stated Ainge. “I think that it was a pretty significant impact he had in those six years.”
Garnett is credited with altering the tradition in Boston. The arrival of Garnett and Ray Allen helped the Celtics vault from a 24-win staff on the backside of the East in 2006-07 to a 66-win squad that introduced house Boston’s 17th title a yr later.
It’s telling that the staff has but to put Garnett’s No. 5 jersey again into circulation since his departure in 2013. Gordon Hayward took Ray Allen’s No. 20 jersey when he signed as a free agent final offseason.
There is one opening on an eight-square banner that Pierce’s quantity joined Sunday. Brian Scalabrine, a reserve on the 2008 title staff and now a TV analyst for the Celtics, stated he thinks it is solely becoming that Garnett and Pierce share a banner collectively within the rafters.
“They go together. Those two guys are linked. That’s how it is,” stated Scalabrine. “Even the fact that there’s one more spot on that banner, that spot is No. 5. He’s the guy. They hang out [together in Los Angeles], they also hang out right next to each other on the banner. There’s no argument out there that he does not belong on that banner. No one out there can make that argument.”
Scalabrine additionally famous how Boston was ready to speed up by means of its most up-to-date rebuilding course of with the gathering of picks and belongings the Celtics obtained in return for buying and selling Pierce and Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. Keeping Pierce and Garnett collectively on the banner would additionally mirror their impression on the staff even after their departure.
Current Celtics huge man Al Horford believes Garnett has earned a spot on the banner.
“He deserves to be up there,” stated Horford. “Huge impact. In my eyes, from the outside looking in, he made everything happen. He was the type of glue guy, he was a leader, he was the guy that changed everything. It takes a lot of pieces. I know he’s never going to want to take the credit, but I feel like his number should be up there. There’s no question about it.”
The hardest half for the Celtics would possibly merely be getting Garnett to endure a whole ceremony in his honor. But Pierce thinks Garnett can be open to the concept, particularly given his affinity for the group and the championship he gained right here.
“[Garnett would] rather have his jersey retired in Boston than in Minnesota,” stated Pierce. “He’ll eventually have his number retired with the Timberwolves, too, but he’ll have to wait until management sells the team.”
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan contributed to this report.