Kevin Garnett weighed all of his options during the offseason, including retiring from the game he loves.
In recent years, contemplating his future has been a regular part of Garnett’s summer routine. This year, there was the added factor of trade rumors that initially had him going to the Clippers and eventually landed him in Brooklyn, along with Paul Pierce and Jason Terry.
He eventually pushed those thoughts of retirement off to the side, he said Thursday, and decided to return to the NBA. He will be wearing a new jersey this year, after he was traded by the Celtics to the Nets in a nine-player deal.
Garnett said he contemplated retiring in the first place due to the uncertainty surrounding Pierce and Boston, but accompanying Pierce to Brooklyn helped persuade Garnett not to call it quits.
“Absolutely, because I didn’t know Paul’s situation and where the Celtics were,” Garnett told reporters during an introductory press conference in Brooklyn on Thursday. “Paul’s a huge part of playing together and accomplishing things, which makes this thing kind of bittersweet. We’re leaving one chapter and opening another.”
The decision to leave behind the team with which he won his first and only championship (so far) wasn’t an easy one. But he saw that times were changing in Boston once coach Doc Rivers departed, and he ultimately decided to start over with the Nets.
Leaving Boston means that he will no longer play with Rajon Rondo, either, which made the decision to leave even more difficult.
“I had my connections there,” Garnett said. “It’s tough leaving Rondo and other things. But new chapters. New things to embrace and that’s what I’m doing.”
It looked for a while that Garnett might be heading to L.A. along with Rivers, but that blockbuster deal never went through. Instead he is moving to Brooklyn with Pierce, and the two longtime friends are “doing this together,” according to Garnett.
“Paul and I have been friends since [we were] 14, so we’ve talked numerous and countless times,” he said. “Walking through this situation and giving him stories about my situation coming from Minnesota, going to Boston. I’ve given him those stories, those experiences, and he’s a very smart guy.”
The path to Brooklyn was a bumpy one, as Garnett weighed possible retirement and was the subject of trade rumors, but he eventually decided that there was enough left in the tank for another championship run with Pierce at his side.