Could Kevin Garnett be with the Brooklyn Nets beyond his playing career? One person tied in to the organization thinks so. In an interview released Saturday with CLNS Radio, Nets play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle sees Garnett having a role in the Nets organization after his retirement.
“This could be just the start of a long-term relationship,” Eagle said. “Kevin’s got a lot of interests outside of just playing basketball, as we know, and I think he saw Brooklyn as an opportunity to try to capitalize on a number of those interests. When the smoke clears, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Garnett has some role moving forward beyond his basketball-playing years, whether it’s within the Nets organization, whether it’s with ownership, whether it’s within the marketing aspect of this team, whether it’s just within Brooklyn. That could be something to keep an eye on down the road. Kevin sees a bigger picture here than just playing one more year with the Nets.”
Eagle admitted that Garnett is “a tough guy to read,” but he could certainly see him interested in staying with the organization — just not on the bench. “My feeling is not from a coaching standpoint,” Eagle added. “That would shock me, something like that. I just don’t see — he just takes every possession so seriously and it would drive him nuts.
“But I do think he’s got a bigger picture in mind. Whether it’s the brand, whether it’s the global aspect, there’s something else there with Kevin. I don’t think he’s the guy who’s just going to go away and you never hear from him. Kevin’s going to dabble in a bunch of different things.”
The biggest question with Garnett was if he’d even come back to play his final year. Eagle originally expected him to retire, but signs point to Garnett returning for the last $12 million on his contract. “Circumstances change,” Eagle said. “With Kevin Garnett, trying to read the tea leaves during the season, there was frustration. He missed so many games, physically could not bring it like he’s accustomed to, the lift isn’t there, the explosive nature in his heyday… it’s not part of the equation.”
Eagle added that Paul Pierce leaving the Nets was mostly “financial” but also stressed the direction of the team. Pierce ended up signing a two-year deal worth approximately $11 million with the Washington Wizards. “The numbers that I heard thrown around (between the Nets and Pierce) were $10, $11 million per year, looking for a two-year, $20 to $22 million deal,” Eagle said. “While the Nets engaged in some early discussions, I think once the decision was made to trim some payroll and to go a bit younger, they decided that Paul didn’t necessarily fit into the future plans.”
Eagle expects the Nets to go back to their core of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, the core that led the Nets to a 49-win season in 2012-13. He acknowledged that that core had a void of leadership and toughness, which necessitated the Pierce and Garnett trade, but that the trade was still a success from a different viewpoint.
“From a basketball standpoint, they went for broke and lost the second round in the playoffs,” Eagle said. “So they’re changing their philosophy. … If their version of success is different: year 2 in a new market, trying to get a foothold on competing with the New York Knicks in the New York area, the there was actual progress.”
Even with the dominance of the NFL, which Eagle knows well as the #2 play-by-play man on CBS’s NFL coverage, he says that the NBA has done a great job maintaining their relevance. “They’re a 12-month-a-year sport now,” Eagle said, admitting he was “sucked in” to summer league.
Full audio of the interview below.