HOUSTON -- Father Time does tend to treat athletes the way Kevin Garnett sometimes treats the sensitive fool who tries to get in his way, and so Garnett, at three months shy of 37, isn't sure he'll wear another All-Star jersey again.
He has also spent the last two days at All-Star Weekend saying, with some certainty, that he'll never wear another team's jersey.
"You heard me say I bleed green?" Garnett asked. "Well, I meant what I said."
If the Celtics plan to retool, revamp or redesign themselves as the franchise approaches an uncertain stage, Garnett says fine, but count him in. He's not planning to go anywhere. He wants to be that lone, stubborn homeowner that refuses to sell to a high-rise developer. He can control his destiny because he owns a no-trade clause, the rarest of perks, and can't imagine waving it under most, if not all, circumstances.
"I'm here," he said. "Why would I come back [to Boston] and rally this team to go further, only to be set up to have change?"
Not long ago, he wasn't so sure. Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending knee injury and the Celtics, at least in the very immediate aftermath, were thrown for a loop. Danny Ainge, who said he would've traded Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in their twilight if he were the GM, was non-committal. Everything would be considered, Ainge said, if it were in the best interest of the Celtics. And so naturally, that got Paul Pierce wondering if he might play for another team for the first time in his career. And KG wondering if maybe it was time to move on if Boston traded Pierce and then came to him, asking about that no-trade.
But: Boston is suddenly winning and Garnett's passion for green right now can only be matched by Warren Buffett's.
Last month, a source said Garnett told Ainge he won't wave the no-trade, and would only reconsider if Pierce were dealt by the Celtics and a Los Angeles team (Garnett lives in Malibu) was interested in KG. And even then, that LA team would need to negotiate that no-trade with Garnett, meaning with money.
When word reached the West Coast, the Clippers sprung into action. They're a logical destination because they have enough assets to ship to Boston and remain a contender, maybe even a stronger one with Garnett. The Clippers would love to increase their interior toughness and the inside presence needed to flourish in the playoffs, where the emphasis on half-court execution could spell an early doom for them. This point was driven home when Chris Paul missed two weeks recently and the Clippers had few players who could create their own shot. They lost eight out of 11.
But it's essentially a long shot that Garnett gets traded by this week's deadline. Ainge hasn't jumped at the chance to get DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and spare change for Garnett, nor shown any willingness to trade Pierce. Too many dominos must fall in such a short amount of time. Besides, with the Celtics winning seven straight after Rondo's injury and rising in the East standings, Ainge feels he's better off waiting until summer before making deals, if then.
"You all don't know what I know," Garnett said.
In a rare talkative mood, Garnett touched on a few other topics:
About the NBA's age-limit rule that prevents high school players from making the jump, as Garnett did: He saw freshman Nerlens Noel of Kentucky suffer a season-ending knee injury and it touched a nerve.
"I don't think we should put a barrier on talent, when it can be used, when it can come to the professional level," he said. "Anytime you put caps and borders up, it's wrong. Obviously I'm a product of that. If someone's able to, skill-wise, adjust to something, they should just go for it. I've always had that attitude. Just go for it. But if there's a system keeping them back, then there's nothing they can do. They're denied that choice."
Garnett said he's never been called an idol by a current NBA player. Not once. While Garnett can be ornery and take his chest-thumping act too far, no one can deny his passion and career. He is a 15-time All-Star with MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards taking up shelf space, along with a championship ring.
Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick last summer, said Friday he copied his game after Garnett and this was news to the Celtic.
"Obviously, I would be honored if someone came up to me and said that," Garnett said. "I haven't heard that from [Davis]. I speak to young guys all the time. I tell them what they should expect out of the league, what they should understand about the game and where the league is going, and how they should prepare themselves."
And finally, about the Celtics, post-Rondo: "Nothing's changed. Our goal remains [to] win games, make the playoffs, shoot for the championship."