Despite being the highest earner in the history of the NBA throughout his career, Kevin Garnett is only staying on for another season with the Brooklyn Nets because of his $12 million salary, and maybe because he still loves the game he isn’t very good at anymore.
Garnett was bad last season, even when healthy. He played 20.5 minutes a night in 54 games, averaging 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. That’s not what you pay someone $12 million for, but the Nets made an all-in move by trading for Paul Pierce and Garnett, hoping that their super-expensive, old, filled with over-the-top veterans, and got burned by not really doing more than tickle the Miami Heat in the conference semifinals. So much for breaking all the luxury tax records in an effort to win a championship.
I’ve always said the days when I’m not feeling basketball again, which is absurd, or when I don’t have the motivation to come in here, it’s time to move on. But that’s not the case. I’m very much motivated. I’m looking to have a better year than last year and I’m looking to enjoy this year. Right now, I feel great. Right now, without the bumps and bruises, I feel great. Give me about three days, I’ll tell you I’m feeling much different from right now. But I’ve been working out since June, since we stopped. Obviously, I take care of myself. I take care of my body. So we’ll see. Eighty-two-plus games beats you up a little bit, so we’ll see.
Not too long ago, there were speculations on whether Garnett would even start this season. He has become almost a non-factor offensively, his defense is just above average at best on most days if not worse and he simply can’t stay on the floor for too long before his legs running out on him.
It’s always hard to see great players – MVPs, NBA champions, future hall of fame inductees, hitting new lows. They love the game, and don’t mind putting on “embarrassing” numbers, playing like role and fringe players just to keep their careers going on a bit longer. Garnett loves the game, so he’s staying. And even if he’s tired of playing, walking away from $12 million is difficult, even if he’s made over $315 million in 19 NBA seasons.