Kevin Garnett spent the second half of this season reminding everyone who asked that he does not like being a center. He fancies himself a forward, and no amount of praise for his play at the pivot is likely to change his opinion soon.
The good news for Garnett is, he does not have to be a center anymore if he does not want to. The unrestricted free agent is believed to want to return to Boston, but another year or two of manning the middle could change his mind. If Garnett still wants to play and the Celtics want him at center, it would make sense for him to examine other opportunities.
Signing a true center like the Chicago Bulls' Omer Asik, for whom the Celtics reportedly are "considering a strong offer," could make Garnett's decision to remain in Boston easier. Asik has been stuck at the back of a deep big man rotation for the Bulls, but he is a strong 7-footer with solid per-minute averages. He scored 3.1 points and grabbed 5.3 rebounds in less than 15 minutes per game this season, numbers that extrapolate to 7.6 points and 13.0 rebounds per 36 minutes. The emergence of Brandon Bass this season showed the success the Celtics can have when they give a previously low-minutes player ample playing time.
The Bulls have to right to match any offer Asik receives, but there is doubt as to how deep they would dig into their pockets. Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson are signed for multiple years, and Gibson, who has proven to be more valuable than Asik, becomes a restricted free agent in 2013.
NBA teams will always need to overpay for size and Asik will be no different. With a true center in the mix, though, Garnett may become more confident that the Celtics will not ask him to endure another season at the five. It could be worth it for the Celtics to eat the extra money thrown Asik's way if they can also bring back a content and productive Garnett.
Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison