Kevin Garnett struggled for most of his first season with the Brooklyn Nets, but it doesn’t appear the probable Hall of Fame forward is ready to retire.
“Still, all indications have been — despite the drop in production this season — Garnett will be back in Brooklyn for what would be the 20th season of his stellar NBA career,” Tim Bontemps of The New York Post wrote Thursday. “The fact is $12 million is an awful lot of money — no matter how much you’ve made in the past — and after playing much, much better over the final few months of the season, it would be easy to see Garnett agreeing to rejoin Pierce for one final season in Brooklyn before riding off into the sunset next summer.”
Garnett no longer is capable of putting up 20 points per game and playing stellar defense on a consistent basis. The “Big Ticket” played in just 54 games this season, his lowest total in a non-lockout schedule, and averaged just 6.5 points (his first time at less than 10 points) and 6.6 rebounds per game (his lowest since his rookie season).
While $12 million is enough to make anyone hold off on retirement, Garnett doesn’t need the money, especially to play another year for a team with no chance of reaching the NBA Finals or winning a championship. The Nets have a lot of talent, but they lack the depth, athleticism and coaching skill to defeat Eastern Conference contenders such as the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. Garnett has earned over $325 million in salary as a professional, more than any player in NBA history.
There’s also the question of Paul Pierce’s future with the Nets. Garnett and Pierce are close friends and came to the Nets last summer in the blockbuster trade from the Boston Celtics. Pierce is eligible to be an unrestricted free agent in July, and if he leaves, will Garnett want to stay in Brooklyn?
As a former league MVP, defensive player of the year, NBA champion and one of the best power forwards to ever play the game, the 38-year-old has nothing left to prove. With that said, KG is one of the most passionate players the league has ever seen, and if his competitive fire is still burning, even slightly, it’s difficult to envision him walking away from the game.