Kevin Garnett might not be getting the storybook ending he imagined.
The surefire Basketball Hall of Famer was traded back to the Minnesota Timberwolves in February 2015 to finish his career with the team he began with, and signed a two-year extension later that summer to remain with them through this coming NBA season.
But that was then, when Garnett still had something left in the tank and Flip Saunders was running the show. Now, Garnett faces the reality of a new coach and president of basketball operations in Tom Thibodeau taking over the Wolves and the fact that The Big Ticket only has been able to play 43 games in the past season and a half since his return.
Because of that, he’s reportedly in advanced discussions with the Wolves on a buyout of his remaining one-year, $8 million contract.
But here’s the thing: That just doesn’t make much sense. Garnett wants to retire in Minnesota, so if he wasn’t going to play this season he’d just retire. Whether a player is bought out or retires, money still counts against the salary cap, so Minnesota isn’t getting any relief. And Garnett’s presence in practices and locker rooms is clearly more valuable than any other 15th man in the NBA. So what gives?
Maybe the Wolves are (understandably) ready to move on, but Garnett doesn’t want to hang it up. If that happens to be the case, we took a stab at Garnett’s five best options moving forward.
Maybe it’s a sign, Kevin.
Garnett has long been rumored to be interested in an ownership stake with Minnesota, and he’d make a great coach or front office person if he’s so inclined. But if the Wolves are forcing Garnett off the court, there could be some resentment.
Return to the Boston Celtics
You know you were thinking the same thing.
Look, KG is fiercely loyal. When he commits, he commits, and he committed to ending his career in Minnesota. But if he still wants to play one more season, it would be a lot easier to do so for the franchise with whom he won his only championship. And man would Celtics fans welcome him back with open arms.
Join the Los Angeles Clippers
It’s likely Paul Pierce’s last season, and despite super teams like the revamped Golden State Warriors standing in their way, the Clippers have a very good shot at winning a title this season. Plus, Doc Rivers runs the show, and there’s plenty guys like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan who could learn from KG.
Join the Chicago Bulls
It’s a stretch, but Garnett went to high school in Chicago and won the Gatorade Player of the Year Award with Farragut Academy before being selected fifth overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. Plus, he’d get a reunion with old friend Rajon Rondo.
Get a TV gig
Garnett is a walking quote machine and an extremely knowledgeable player. He’s also very funny and very interesting. We can’t see this actually happening, but he’d be good at it if he wanted to be.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images