Garnett’s future still uncertain, Nets plan for his return

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett (AP)
Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett (AP)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Following the Brooklyn Nets’ second-round loss to the Miami Heat, general manager Billy King told Nets center Kevin Garnett he didn’t have to have an answer right away about his future. Garnett had just finished the 1,520th game of his NBA career in his 19th NBA season, playoffs included, and the rumblings were that Garnett, a future Hall-of-Famer, was pondering retirement.

Three weeks later, King still hasn’t heard anything definitive from Garnett, who will be 38 by the time next season rolls around, and that he’s working on his offseason under the assumption that Garnett will be back until Garnett says otherwise.

“He’s under contract,” King said. “So my indication, until he tells me otherwise, is that he’s under contract.”

Garnett has not spoken publicly since the end of the season. He has one year remaining on his contract with the Nets, worth $12 million. The contract is fully guaranteed, unless Garnett decides to retire and he & the team agree on a buyout.

“If a guy changes course and they decide they’re retiring, then you make that decision,” he added. “But you don’t go in thinking okay, he’s retiring. You’ve got to assume that that $12 million is going to be in your cap and you plan that way. That’s how you go forward.

“Paul Pierce, for example, is a free agent. So you plan that he could or could not be back. But I know that Garnett is under contract at this point in time, so until something changes, then you’ve got to plan that way as you’re planning your cap and you build your team because that money is on your books.”

Garnett looked his age this season in Brooklyn, with a minutes limit around 20 per game and career-lows nearly across the board.

But the team’s defense was also at its best with Garnett manning center: with Garnett on the floor in 2014, the Nets allowed just 95.6 points per 100 possessions, which would’ve ranked as the best defensive team in the NBA.

“I think he was good,” King said. “This year, you can say he’s not the Garnett of 12 years ago, but I think what he brought to the table for us was good. I think he brought for the locker room, I think he started out the year and wasn’t at the peak performance that he may wanted to have been at, but I think there was a lot of newness for a lot of people. So I think what he gave us and what he brought to the table and how Jason used him was very good.”