The Brooklyn Nets are going into a season knowing they’re not going to do anything more than maybe make the playoffs and get knocked out very quickly. Kevin Garnett is one player they have no idea about his intentions, as the 19-year veteran still hasn’t spoken to the team about his decision regarding his retirement.
Garnett, 38, is entering what might be his 20th NBA season, and surely his last. It’s the last season of his contract, making $12 million. While during his slow decline during the Celtics years Garnett seemed to make up for it with leadership and passion, that trick doesn’t work anymore.
He missed almost 30 regular season games while averaging 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds on 20 minutes a night. Garnett didn’t play more minutes during the postseason. His body can’t take spending more time on the court at this stage of his career without it costing him dearly in terms of health and long-term production.
Maybe the return of Brook Lopez should make it easier for him – moving to a backup role, as a center. The Nets realized last season that using Garnett as a power forward doesn’t work so well, and making him the primary big man in a lineup usually does a better job. It’s not quite certain he has enough in him – physically and mentally, to carry on doing it knowing there’s no championship in sight, not to mention not having Paul Pierce alongside him anymore.
When the Miami Heat completed the job of beating the Brooklyn Nets last season in the Eastern Conference semifinals, we wondered if this was the last game for Garnett – A regular season MVP in 2004 with the Timberwolves, an NBA champion with the Celtics in 2008, and a future hall of famer without a shred of a doubt.
But one more year? Going through another training camp? Another long season of travelling and staying in shape? Maybe if there was a clear goal at the end of the rainbow, it would have been easier to say yes to that. However, the Nets aren’t going to win an NBA title. Not even close. It’s hard to find a reason for Garnett to stay besides money, which often proves to be a very compelling side to an argument.