WALTHAM — On Wednesday, the elephant in Madison Square Garden — at least as far as the Celtics and their fans are concerned — will be whether this is the last game in a Boston uniform for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
The 35-year-old Pierce, who was drafted by the Celtics in 1998, has a team option on his contract for 2013-14 at $15.3 million, with a $5 million buyout before June 30.
Pierce recently told the Globe that he understands this could be his final postseason as a Celtic, saying, “I’ve been thinking that the last three years.”
Garnett, 36, has two years remaining on his contract, but the latter year (2014-15) is only partially guaranteed. The issue of retirement has come up more often in recent years with Garnett.
When asked about his future Tuesday before practice, Garnett said he was only thinking about Wednesday’s Game 5 against the Knicks, who lead this first-round series, 3-1.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he wasn’t sure about Garnett’s future, but added, “I think he loves this team. I think he likes the guys. I think he’s watching Jeff [Green], the way he’s starting to play. I think he knows [Rajon] Rondo comes back.
“I know one thing: I don’t think anyone can make a decision about any of us right now during the season. As a coach, if you asked me in the middle of the season if I would be coming back next year, every year, [the answer would be] no.
“And then in the summer, you’re sitting around the house and she [wife Kristen] drives me nuts, she wants me out of the house, and the kids want me out and, I say, ‘I’m going back to work.’ That’s how it works.”
While he can understand why fans would be anxious about the future of this team, said Rivers, he would rather focus on trying to play in front of them again Friday — in Game 6 at TD Garden.
Knicks power forward Kenyon Martin took issue with some comments Jason Terry made before Game 4, telling the New York Daily News, “He told me, ‘You’re not dancing at my funeral today.’ ”
After the game, Martin said, “We’re ending it Wednesday,” adding that he’d tell his teammates to “wear black — funeral colors.”
Said Terry, “That’s good. I thought they wore that last game, too. I mean, for us it don’t change. Whether they wear white, pink, blue, black, green, it’s Game 7 for us. So we know what mind-set we have to be in, and if you lose, you’re going home.”
Through Pierce and Green share the unenviable chore of guarding Carmelo Anthony, the responsibility will largely fall on the shoulders of Brandon Bass.
Anthony shot 10 for 35 in Game 4, largely with Bass in his face. Bass got a little too close several times, though, and he fouled out in the fourth quarter.
As for why Bass is suited to guard Anthony, Rivers said it was something he learned in last season’s playoffs.
“He guarded LeBron [James] the best in that series last year, and that gave me confidence this year,” Rivers said.
Bass’s size is an advantage in such a matchup. At 6 feet 8 inches, 250 pounds, Bass is “bigger than guys who normally guard Melo,” Rivers said.
However, it’s not as though Rivers expects Anthony to shoot 10 for 35 again.
“Him, LeBron, [Kevin] Durant — I’ve always said that about all three,” Rivers said. “I’m not sure that you’re holding them to 10 for 35 or he just goes 10 for 35. We’re hoping that he goes or that we hold him. Whichever. We hope it happens again.”