BOSTON — Kevin Garnett wants to play another year. That’s what some of his teammates believe, and even his ex-teammates. As Kendrick Perkins said recently: “I think he will. It’ll probably depend on the money, and if he can win a championship wherever he goes.”
Garnett has looked solid in spurts, even All-Star-like. He remains in solid shape and although his health was an issue in the past, his body hasn’t betrayed him here in this abbreviated season, unlike other players. Because the NBA still puts a premium on big men, it’s reasonable to suspect a handful of teams will inquire about the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent. At least those teams who consider themselves title contenders.
Therefore … where does he go?
It’s not totally out of the question that Garnett returns to the Celtics. He wouldn’t have to learn a new system, deal with a new coach, new city, all that. Besides, the Celtics will have plenty of room under the cap to give him a reasonable salary, say $10 million. With Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, they’d be a 45 or 50-win team.
There are other possible landing places as well. Maybe the Lakers? Garnett has a home in Malibu, and the Lakers have Kobe Bryant. What they don’t have is cap room, but that can be resolved if they agree to a sign and trade for Pau Gasol. The Lakers desperately want Gasol’s contract (three years, $60 million) off the cap and tried to trade him last summer. The Celtics, with only Pierce and Rondo making decent money, could take Gasol, although that would likely prevent them from re-signing Brandon Bass.
How about the Mavericks? If they don’t get Deron Williams or Dwight Howard, they could pair Garnett with Dirk Nowitzki, although KG would have to play primarily at center. There’s also Brooklyn, but only if the Nets keep Williams and get Howard and somehow convince KG to take a little less. The Clippers would be in play only if they could get someone to take DeAndre Jordan‘s remaining $33 million, which seems unlikely.
And that’s about it. There’s a limited universe for Garnett, for a variety of reasons: his age, asking price and a team’s ability to win now. That said, if he wants, he’ll make money next season, not bad for someone who’s already banked a pair of $100 million contracts.