According to an ESPN report by Marc Stein, former Celtics star and future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett is leaning towards returning to the Brooklyn Nets for one more season.
The 2013-14 season was a forgettable one for the “Big Ticket”; coming off a career-worst 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds on 44-percent shooting over 54 games. In recent seasons, Garnett’s playing time has been closely monitored, both by the Celtics as well as the Nets. This past season, a nagging back problem limited Garnett to just 54 games; and the all time great looked to be a shell of his former self. While his performance was lacking, his fire and intensity still burned; jawing and taunting players whenever he was on the floor.
In stark contrast; another fellow 38-year old, Tim Duncan is opting to return for the 2014-15 season. Considered along with Garnett to be the best power forward of this era, Duncan is coming off a far more productive season (15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds 49-percent shooting over 74 games) and appears to have more to offer the Spurs at this point than Garnett does the Nets. Despite the physical and statistical contrasts, there is one thing both player have in common; a thirst for elite competition and winning.
Garnett has one season remaining in his three-year contract for $12 million. Money has never been a motivator for Garnett, so his close associates indicating Garnett wanting another season is a testament to the competitive fire that still burns within the 2008 NBA champion and 15-time All Star. Garnett’s eventual decision will likely also impact the free agency of another former Celtics great, Paul Pierce. As a player who helped convince Garnett to waive his no-trade clause and go to Brooklyn last summer, it seems probable “The Truth” would stay with the Nets as well if Garnett does return.
As presently constituted, the Nets have talent enough to be a playoff team; but due to age (Garnett, Pierce) and injury/decline (Brook Lopez, Deron Williams), there is not enough in place to be a serious Eastern Conference threat. For a great player like Kevin Garnett, there would be no more fitting ending to his prolific career than competing for another title. Unfortunately, Brooklyn would have a lot to do over this summer to give KG a fitting send-off.
Scott Duhaime is a New England Sports fan and former resident, transplanted to Ohio. Despite his new address, his passion for sports hasn’t dimished, but rather broadened to now cover the Cleveland sports scene. Scott’s sports commitment is best evidenced by his creation and continued contributions to Banner Day Boston and Banner Day Boston Radio.
ESPN Article: Nets’ hopes rise for KG’s return
Basketball-Reference.com Player Profiles: Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan