Reggie Miller might be walking through that door.
Looking to add another veteran All-Star, the Celtics bypassed the traditional routes and contacted Miller about the possibility of coming out of retirement. Far from gray and old, the soon-to-be 42-year-old looks as fit as he did during 18 seasons with the Indiana Pacers. The future Hall of Famer presents an intriguing potential complement to Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.
"Reggie and I have talked," Danny Ainge said early yesterday afternoon. "We've had conversations. I will just confirm that we have had conversations. Doc [Rivers] has talked with him. And, yes, we plan to have further conversations with Reggie."
There is no question the Celtics are serious in their pursuit of Miller. Having played and coached against him, Ainge and Rivers know the kind of impact he can have.
But Miller must decide whether he wants to continue his broadcasting career with TNT or interrupt it for what could be one last shot at an NBA title. During his tenure, the Pacers made the Finals only once, losing to the Lakers in 2000. Alongside Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, Miller could have a legitimate opportunity to fill that void on his résumé. Obviously, that has been at the heart of the Celtics' pitch.
But a chance at a title may not be enough to persuade Miller to exchange a comfortable seat on the sideline for the rigors of an 82-game NBA schedule plus a deep run into the playoffs. Miller retired after the 2004-05 season with his legacy intact as one of the most explosive scorers in history (18.2 points per game) and as a rare modern player who spent his career with one team. He will always be remembered for his clutch playoff performances.
With his experience and reputation as a consummate professional who brought an intelligent perspective to the floor, Miller was a natural for the broadcast booth. He seems comfortable adding color to games or joking in the TNT studio. But the chance to join three other veteran All-Stars for a shot at a title doesn't come around often. Miller turned down an opportunity to play with the Dallas Mavericks last season.
"I'm always flattered when my name is mentioned as someone who can still help an NBA team win a championship," Miller said in a statement relayed to the Associated Press by TNT. "I've had limited discussions with Celtics management about their roster and a potential role for me. At this time, I'm enjoying my role as an analyst with TNT."
Given Ainge and Co.'s handling of the Garnett trade, the Celtics won't give up easily. While Miller in a Boston uniform seems a long shot, a lot could change when the sides talk again.
To say the shooting guard would give the Celtics an outside threat would be a major understatement. Miller holds the career record for most 3-point field goals made (2,560) and attempted (6,486). He shares the NBA record for most seasons leading the league in 3-point field goals made with two (1993 with 167, 1997 with 229).
He retired as the Pacers' all-time scoring leader with 25,279 points and all-time steals leader with 1,505.
Ainge would not elaborate on when further discussions with Miller will take place.
Since Miller, a five-time All-Star, has always been conscientious about his workout regimen, it seems he could step back on an NBA court with a relatively short lead time. He may need a couple of weeks of workouts to determine whether his body could handle the NBA grind. In his final season, Miller averaged almost 32 minutes per game, though with the Celtics, he would likely be called on for about 15-20.
Heading into training camp, the Celtics are looking to fill out their roster and make sure Garnett, Pierce, and Allen have a supporting cast that will help them fulfill high expectations, including an Eastern Conference championship.
Ainge and Rivers are well aware Garnett, Pierce, and Allen cannot do it alone.
The biggest question could soon become: Can Garnett, Pierce, Allen, and Miller get it done?
Shira Springer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.