Kevin Garnett on resting: "I’ve earned the right to have an opinion with something I’m doing"

Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd (AP)
Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett (left), head coach Jason Kidd (AP)

Earlier this summer, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd made an offhand comment that he was considering resting 37-year-old forward Kevin Garnett on one end of back-to-back games, which would take Garnett out of at least 20 of the team’s 82 regular-season games.

After telling the media, Kidd and Garnett spoke personally about the plan, and at media day Garnett was asked about that conversation.

“It didn’t go too well,” Garnett deadpanned.

After some laughter from the media, Garnett continued. “I understand what he’s doing. He’s trying to obviously make sure I’m durable and make sure I can make it to an 82-game season.

“He’s not coming to me personally or as a man or anything like that. He’s trying to better me. So I’m going to try to be receptive. … It’s very fair to say it’s a wait-and-see approach. I just don’t want to be told anything, because I’ve earned the right to have an opinion with something I’m doing.”

Garnett is one of the league’s fiercest competitors, even in practice, and any plan that puts him on the bench for extended stretches of time would draw his ire. Kidd’s first flub as a head coach may have been to tell the media about his plan to rest Garnett in back-to-backs before speaking with Garnett.

The two appeared to be on good terms during the inaugural Nets practice Tuesday, held in Michael W. Krzyzewski Center at Duke University.

That mistake doesn’t change Garnett’s respect level for Kidd, who he sees as an equal competitor and respected leader. “Jason is a proven winner. He’s won before and he’s a great leader, I’ve played with him for a couple of years and I got to see first hand and never forgot it.

“Jason goes 110 miles an hour and works at the same rate and if you’re not going at that rate, then he is going to tell you about it. Everybody has seen him work, and see how he’s prepared and how he prepares for anything.”

Transcriptions by Benjamin Nadeau