Q. The Kevin Garnett I saw against the Heat is not a player ready to be put out to pasture. I know this sounds preposterous, but couldn't they build around him, not rebuild, but for say two or three years?
— Ray, Upper Marlboro, Md.
A. I don't know if Garnett is someone who you could "build around" at this stage, yet he very much held the central role in the Boston Celtics' second-half revival during the regular season and then within one game of the NBA Finals.
But he is someone who can help keep your team above .500 and give you a chance in the postseason.
There are a couple of factors in play.
Foremost, the Celtics, and their trainers and physicians, know what we don't, and that's how much this latest grind took out of Garnett. At 36, when it goes, it can go quickly. There simply might not be much more left, even with his dominance in the six weeks leading to the end of his season.
Then there is the issue of his contract, and how much of a pay cut he is willing to accept. And that could offer perhaps a truer insight into Garnett than any postgame yelp. Is it still about money? Does he still see himself as someone if not in the $20 million range then in the $15 million range? And would he insist on a multiple-year deal? For someone who spoke of bleeding green these past five seasons, it will be interesting to see how much green he tries to bleed from the Celtics.
If he does go, that would be a shame, because just as he was marginalized as an NBA presence during the start of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he could become just as marginal a factor away from Celtics coach Doc Rivers while toiling with the lottery likes of, say, the New Jersey Nets.
Q. Michael Heisley certainly deserves thanks for bringing the Grizzlies to Memphis, but it was time for a change. Do you think this change of ownership can do what the one in Oklahoma City did for the Thunder?
— Bill, Germantown, Tenn.
A. I'm not sure you want to go there, with that comparison, considering how Clay Bennett hijacked the Sonics from Seattle and planted them in Oklahoma City.
And it is way too early to tell what direction Robert Pera will take the Grizzlies.
But the reality of the Thunder's situation is that they got to be so good by first being so bad, building through the draft with the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. And I'm not sure, after some of the playoff noise made these past two seasons by the Grizzlies that this would be something either Memphis fans or Pera would want.
NBA finals: Heat def. Thunder 4-1
Winderman: LeBron James has been a prodigy, superstar and villain. And now he's champion. The journey has left the league and Finals MVP humbled and happy for those closest to him.
To a degree, I can appreciate the sentiment to trade Rudy Gay. It is similar to the thinking with Andre Iguodala in Philadelphia, that a near-star at superstar money can actually be a detriment as part of the salary-cap game.
The only way for the Grizzlies to get appreciably better might be to get appreciably worse. But if that happens amid an ownership change, it could put the Grizzlies closer to the Thunder in a way you might not appreciate, as a team on the move.
Q. What's it like in Oklahoma City during the NBA Finals?
— Javier, Miami
A. It's like a school that is in the Final Four getting to host those games or a team in the BCS championship game getting to host that game in its city.
It is pure college, rah-rah, but also relentlessly friendly. As much as anything, you can tell it means something to the residents to not only show support for their team, but also make a civic statement about their city and their state.
The closest thing on a pro level I could compare it to would be Green Bay hosting a Super Bowl featuring the Packers, or, to get back to the real world, when Portland still retained its small-town feel during the earliest days of championship success with the Trail Blazers under Jack Ramsay.
In fact, that's almost exactly what it is, when the Blazers won their first championship, creating lasting civic pride, not the fleeing type that accompanies a championship parade, followed immediately by questions of whether the team can repeat.
Put it this way, if the Heat lose these Finals, Miami will get back to complaining about the Dolphins in no time.
If the Thunder lose, you can be assured there nonetheless will be some sort of Thunder rally, possibly larger than what other cities, far larger, would produce for a championship parade.
The people here are living the moment like few I have seen in recent NBA Finals, certainly much more so than last season in Dallas.
Q. In a one-player draft, what should the Bobcats do at No. 2?
— Norman, Gastonia, N.C.
OK, first of all, it's not a one-player draft, and it could be argued that one of several players available at No. 2 could instantly turn into the best player on the Bobcats' roster (which, of course, isn't saying much).
But the Bobcats are so bad, that it would seemingly make sense to move down in a trade to either shed a bad contract (take my Tyrus Thomas, please) or to add the type of veteran talent that otherwise might never give consideration to Charlotte as a free agency destination.
What the Bobcats shouldn't do is go for some sort of local product in a bid to sell tickets, with no disrespect to Harrison Barnes.
But I agree that after Anthony Davis, there isn't a franchise-changing player for a team at the Bobcats' depths. There are several teams that could make more out of the No. 2 pick than the Bobcats, and Michael Jordan would be wise to consider maximizing the pick rather than winding up with another Emeka Okafor after the Bobcats that year lost out on Dwight Howard.
PBT: The Pacers were too tough for the Knicks, but Miami is a different animal. The clubs face off in the East finals, starting Wednesday night.
Rotoworld: The Cavaliers won the draft lottery on Tuesday night, and the latest mock gives them the big man with the highest upside.
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