Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen to decide

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is optimistic that free agents Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen might return to Boston, but he can't be sure.

On Garnett, Ainge said it's still unclear if the free agent forward will re-sign with the Celtics, but that he expects to know before Sunday, when the team can begin negotiations with other free agents.

"We're having a conversation with Kevin, but we don't have any answers on whether he's coming back or not," Ainge told reporters at the Celtics' practice facility. "I'll know that by July 1. I'll be in communication with him and I'll have some sort of read on that and a better feel."

Ainge said he isn't rushing Garnett to make a decision, despite the fact that Garnett still is the most important piece the team needs to decide upon before they openly pursue other players.

"There's no deadline with Kevin," Ainge said. "Kevin's the only free agent we have that we can talk to now. We don't have to wait until July 1 because he's eligible for an extension, but the rest of the players we have to wait until July 1."

Ainge said he still believes Garnett isn't considering playing for another team, believing he'll either choose the Celtics or retirement.

"I think so," Ainge said. "As of right now, yeah."

As for Allen, Ainge said that he's spoken with the veteran shooting guard and believes Allen is "open" to returning to Boston for another season.

Ainge can't technically discuss a new contract with Allen until Sunday, per NBA rules, but he said he has been able to get a feel for where Allen may be leaning.

"Yeah, I think Ray's open to coming back," Ainge said. "But, listen, I don't know. I won't even get into details with talking to players other than the exit interviews and Ray was getting rehab here, and we've talked. So I have a feel of where his head is, but I'll know more in July."

Allen, who's reportedly been linked to several other teams, including the Miami Heat, underwent surgery to have bone spurs removed from his right ankle June 13 . While the rehab period gave Ainge extra time to speak with Allen, he said they hadn't talked about a new contract.

"I have had conversations with Ray, yes," Ainge said. "Not contract-specific, but just sort of what his hopes and future [are], what he thinks about our team and would he like to come back and all those types of things. But I haven't had any more specifics, and on July 1 we'll talk more to Ray."

Free-agent forward Mickael Pietrus made it clear Wednesday he wants to spend his foreseeable NBA future in Boston.

Making a surprise appearance at the Celtics' training facility, presumably where he's rehabbing his right knee, which he had surgery on two weeks ago, Pietrus stopped to speak with reporters and made it sound like he has every intention of staying with the Celtics for future seasons.

"I feel like, for me, I feel like it's home," Pietrus said of Boston. "I feel like I'm home. My summertime is hanging out with the Celtics. And I'm excited about (the NBA draft on Thursday), too. So I've never experienced any of the draft experience, so hopefully I'll be in the Garden and cheering for my new teammates.

"Obviously all the fans want me to be back on Twitter, so if it was up to the fans, I would be a five-year, 10-year Celtic, but it's not up to them, or me, too. Hopefully my agent and (Ainge) are going to work out a deal and (I'll be) a Celtic forever."

Pietrus and his agent, William McCandless, can begin negotiating with the Celtics on Sunday -- the first day of the NBA's moratorium period. A deal can't technically be signed until July 11, but one can be in place by that point.

Pietrus, though, understands that he's just a piece of the puzzle, fully aware that the Celtics still need to lock down the most important piece this offseason in Garnett.

Count Pietrus among those who want to see Garnett back in Boston next season.

"He's the face of the franchise. If we really want to win a championship, we've got to have KG," Pietrus said. "And, our main focus on Sunday is going to be KG, two letters. I have two numbers (1 and 8), and now I have two letters. So, you know, I'm excited about it, too, so hopefully you guys are going to see me back on Sunday. Hopefully it's going to start Sunday for me, too, so I'm just excited to be here, and just excited to think about Banner 18 all summer. So, I think I've got to go get it. So my main focus is to get Banner 18 and that's it."