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Irish Coffee: Celtics or bust for Kevin Garnett

Let’s get this out of the way: Every NBA team would like to sign Kevin Garnett [1] away from the Celtics [2].

While the Miami Herald would have you believe [3] “Garnett fades away in the biggest moment” — without mention of his Game 7 first-half foul trouble — the fact is he changed the culture of the C’s organization and carried them within a game of the 2012 NBA finals [4] at the age of 36, and any team would welcome that presence into their locker room. Celtics coach Doc Rivers [5] reminds us of this every time somebody calls Garnett a dirty player.

‘€œHe’€™s been everything for my career, just his locker room presence, his desire, his determination, his leadership,’€ C’s captain Paul Pierce [6] told reporters on Saturday night. ‘€œI’€™ve said before, when Kevin first got here, he really changed the culture of everything we did around here, from the practice habits to the on-court discipline. He made everybody accountable, from the ballboys to the chefs to the guy who flew the plane. Everybody was accountable. It was just tremendous to have him around, just the culture he brought.

‘€œIt would be great for me to end my career with Kevin,” he added. “I have a couple of years left, and who knows what his future is going to bring. Hopefully, management can do something to bring him back, maybe add some pieces to this team that we need to get us over the top. If not, it’€™s been a tremendous ride.’€

No wonder recent reports name the Spurs [7] and Nets [8] as suitors. No kidding. You don’t need to tell us Rosie O’Donnell is interested in Ben & Jerry’s free cone day. Let’s throw the other 28 teams in the mix while we’re at it.

Eliminate 14 teams off the bat. Does anyone really think Garnett is leaving Boston to finish his career rebuilding a lottery team? Cross off another eight playoff teams that — barring a significant increase of the $58.0444 million salary cap — enter the summer over the limit (Bulls, Grizzlies [9], Hawks, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Magic, Thunder), regardless of their amnesty options. He’s not going elsewhere for the $3 or $5 million mid-level exception.

In addition to the Celtics, that leaves the Clippers, Jazz [10], Mavericks, Nuggets, Pacers, 76ers and Spurs as potential destinations. Quickly, let’s run through the salary cap situation for those seven teams.

Meanwhile, with just $32.2 million dedicated to the 2012-13 roster, the Celtics have more cap space than any other playoff team. They also own Garnett’s Bird Rights, which means Danny Ainge could pay him $22.26 million if he wanted. More likely, Garnett would command a contract somewhere in the vicinity of two years and $25-30 million, which would effectively eliminate the Clippers, Jazz, Nuggets and Spurs from the running.

None of this even accounts for Garnett’s kinship with Rivers or his propensity towards undying loyalty, two more reasons to believe with near certainty that the only uniform he would wear next season is a green and white one.

Then again, the news of Garnett’s retirement could break at any minute, making this debate a moot point.

(Have a question, concern or conception for the next Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach [21] on Twitter.)