Return of Kevin Garnett was critical factor in Celtics retooling

A LOOK BACK AT THIS PAST OFFSEASON

With Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen set to become free agents and well into their 30s, change appeared imminent. The Celtics faithful fully prepared for an offseason of adjustment, the organization taking a step back to potential mediocrity after five years of elite status.

But the Celtics instead took a surprising turn, adding eight players and re-signing Garnett, and they remain one of the East favorites as they head into the home opener Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Conventional wisdom said there was no way Garnett, playing on aging legs and tiring at the end of playoff games, would return. Allen, meanwhile, had grown increasingly unhappy with his situation in comparison with second-year guard Avery Bradley and wanted to explore free agency for the first time.

So the 2012-13 Celtics likely would consist of Rajon Rondo, perhaps Paul Pierce, and a bunch of pieces meshed together until the Celtics could attract a major free agent. But as free agency approached, the central figure in their quest to extend the Big Three Era was Garnett himself.

– Reported by Gary Washburn of theĀ Boston Globe