Kevin Garnett Should Chase Title for One More Season Before Retirement

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2013

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 28: Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics reacts following their overtime win against the New York Knicks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

After 18 seasons in the NBA, the question on every Boston Celtics fan's mind this offseason will be Kevin Garnett's potential retirement. Will the veteran superstar call it quits?

If the fiery competitiveness that has defined his career is any indication, the answer will (and should) be "No."

If Garnett does decide that he's played his last game in the NBA, no one could blame him. He's already established himself as a future Hall of Famer. He's one of the greatest power forwards of all time and has already scored that elusive NBA championship in 2008.

He could walk away from the game with his head held high. But Garnett has always been about winning. That's why he spent the last of his 12 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves frustrated, despite his jaw-dropping individual stats.

That's why it's hard to envision him walking away after this season.

Considering the team's appearance in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, this year's playoff appearance has to be a disappointment.

However, that disappointment can't be chalked up to the aging of Paul Pierce and Garnett. The Celtics only got 38 games of Rajon Rondo, thanks to an ACL tear. Jared Sullinger was also bounced out of the season prematurely, and even Avery Bradley had to deal with injuries.

Garnett proved this season that he still has the ability to play at a high level. He was a starter in the All-Star game and scored his 25,000th career point. He averaged over 14 rebounds per game in the playoffs and provided the team with leadership that held things together despite the adversity.

The days of Garnett being a player who can carry Boston to a title are over. This season proved that when Pierce and Garnett are forced to be the stars, the Celtics aren't among the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

If Rajon Rondo can return to his top form next season, things could be different. Garnett has adapted to his role as hard-nosed center brilliantly. He's no longer the high-flying power forward who rocked the rim in Minnesota, but he's a savvy scorer in the post who can still hit the glass with an intensity matched by few players around the league.

That's not something that will go away if he comes back to play one more season.

While beating the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference may be a daunting task, they're always one injury away from breaking the conference wide open. With a healthy Rondo and Sullinger flanked by a returning Pierce and Garnett, the Celtics would be a legitimate contender to make a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals next season.

This season wasn't an indication of the full potential that Garnett and the Celtics can be. It would be a somewhat anti-climactic and disappointing run to see his dynamic career end on a first-round exit in the playoffs.

For much of Garnett's career, he was defined as the star who couldn't win when it mattered most. His time with the Celtics has proved otherwise. He should take the opportunity to drive home that point one last time by playing a pivotal role in a Celtics run next season, before walking away from his legendary career.