Barry Chin/The Boston Globe
BOSTON — Kevin Garnett would not admit it outright, but he also did not dismiss the notion that Friday’s 109-107 win by the Brooklyn Nets over the Boston Celtics may have been his final game at the TD Garden.
“At this stage, it’s always somewhere lurking in the back [of my mind], whether I admit it or not,” Garnett said in the visitor’s locker room after the game. “Being truthful with you, sometimes I think about it. I saw Paul [Pierce] the other day in New York and we had a conversation. At this stage, when you know that things are, not taking for granted, but more appreciated, it crosses [your mind]. I wouldn’t lie about that.”
The 38-year-old had an uneventful six points and four rebounds in 17 minutes, but received plenty of admiration from the Garden crowd in his second and final trip to the Garden this season as a Brooklyn Net.
Just two years after he was traded away with Paul Pierce to Brooklyn, it was hard for Garnett to recognize much of the Celtics roster, especially after the trade of friend and former teammate Rajon Rondo last week.
Garnett reflected on the trade, his ties to Boston and much more in a wide-ranging interview after the game.
Did the Rondo trade surprise him? “A little bit. Nothing surprises me after Michael Jordan moves to different teams, Shaq moving to different teams. Players throughout NBA history moving to different teams, so it’s just a matter of when and where.”
Strange to play the Celtics without Rondo?: “I just saw [trainer] Eddie Lacerte in the locker room and told him it was kind of bittersweet. I’ve been in contact with Rondo since, just caring about his well-being. I’ve been in touch with all the guys [from the championship era]. I’m just glad everything worked out.”
How special is your relationship with Boston?: “It’s always love here. It’s always appreciation I can never give back, other than a salute. Winning is infinite and I’ve always had that special relationship with this city.”
Is this your last year in the NBA? “I don’t know. I like to say I give each year its own and I assess it at the end of that.”
Appreciate your time in Boston now more? “I take everything with appreciation. Not to say I didn’t do it before, but more than ever when you are kind of on your last days. It’s more appreciated, especially with everything going on in the league, [player] movement and what things could be. I’m very fortunate.”
What does he expect from Rondo in Dallas? “To be himself. With a little more of a championship base around him, I see him adapting to that with no problem. I watched him play. I see him getting up on defense like old times, just talking and being himself. I expect great things out of him and I wish him the best.”
Thoughts that the last link [Rondo] to the 2008 championship team is gone: “I know, I’ve been getting a bunch of rest in peace texts and stuff, so I had to change my number. It’s all good though. We’re infinite. Once you win once, you win forever.”