Kevin Garnett is 38 years old.
This past season he averaged 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 20.5 minutes per game. Garnett is an incredibly fierce competitor, and it has to eat him up inside to play NBA basketball at a significantly lower level than he was once capable of.
After the Brooklyn Nets were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs, many fans and writers alike began to speculate that Garnett might retire.
The 15-time All-Star still has one year and $12 million remaining on his contract with the Nets. It would appear crazy for him to pass that up, until you consider that Garnett has already made more money in salary than any other player in NBA history, nearly $350 million. What’s another $12 million if it means having to witness his own decline from greatness to an even further extent?
When Garnett and Paul Pierce were dealt from the Boston Celtics to Brooklyn last summer, it was Pierce who reportedly had to convince Garnett not to exercise his no-trade clause. Now that his longtime friend has moved on to the Washington Wizards, Garnett seemingly has even less motivation to return to the Nets for a twentieth NBA season.
The general consensus is that Garnett will be back, but the situation is actually murkier than one might think. Take a look at the following Garnett news timeline since the end of the season:
May 27 - Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:
Garnett declined to talk to reporters both after the Nets’ final loss of the season to the Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and during the locker room cleanout the following afternoon.
Still, all indications have been — despite the drop in production this season — Garnett will be back in Brooklyn…
June 14 – Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix:
Nets continuing to operate with the belief that Kevin Garnett will return next season, sources say. KG has been in contact with the team.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 14, 2014
June 25 - Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York:
All indications are that Kevin Garnett is preparing to return for another season with the Brooklyn Nets, according to a league source…General manager Billy King reiterated on Wednesday that the Nets have been operating as if Garnett is under contract and will play next season until told otherwise.
July 14 - ESPN’s Chris Broussard and Mike Mazzeo:
He [Garnett] has yet to publicly announce that he’s playing this season, but all indications continue to point that way. On Saturday, a league source told ESPNNewYork.com that the Nets still expect Garnett to return.
No, I haven’t talked about that with him, but all reports that I have [from team management] is that he’s coming back. It’s his right to make that decision or change his mind if he has decided to come back or not come back. I’m not worried about that. That’s out of my control. That’s a decision that KG and his family have to make, and I’ll leave it with him.
August 8 – The Post‘s Bontemps:
Hollins said he has reached out to all 15 players on the roster, and heard back from all but two: Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson. But Hollins said he wasn’t worried about that, and by the time the players return to the area in September, he’ll have spoken to everyone.
Maybe Hollins should be worried. In two and a half months, Garnett has not said a word to anyone that he intends to keep playing NBA basketball. Doesn’t that seem a little bizarre?
The NBA released its 2014-15 schedule on Wednesday, and the Nets will open the season in Boston against the Celtics. Can we really be so sure that Garnett will be there to take on his former team?