Report: No punching this Big Ticket yet


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Welcome back, Big Ticket.

Nothing’s official yet, but the signs and tweets out of Brooklyn suggest that Kevin Garnett will return in 2014-15 for the final season of his contract and the 20th season of his Hall of Fame-worthy career.

The Nets are operating as if Garnett will be back for a second year in their organization, based on general manager Billy King‘s comments to reporters Wednesday in East Rutherford, N.J. The team’s GM has had some conversations with the 38-year-old power forward and said Garnett has begun offseason workouts earlier this summer, after his least productive season ever. Appearing in just 54 games and averaging only 20.5 minutes, the 6-foot-11 veteran averaged 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds while making only 44.1 percent of his 6.6 field-goal attempts per game – all career lows. His per-36 minutes numbers looked better – 11.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg – but Garnett missed 20 of 21 games late in the schedule with back issues.

Exiting after Brooklyn’s elimination by Miami from the East semifinals, Garnett skipped a final postgame session with reporters and gave no indication of his 2014-15 plans. But then, that’s been his M.O. even in his prime. Then, typically, he would gear up mentally and physically on the beaches near his Malibu, Calif., home, as the summer turned to fall and the opening of NBA training camps neared.

That’s how it looks to be pointing again – there is a $12 million salary to be had in this final year of his contract – and that’s fine with the Nets. Especially Mason Plumlee, Garnett’s backup/potential successor.

“All the guys who’ve had the chance to be his teammate, say if he’s not here next year, I know I’d miss him,” Plumlee said late last season, after spending most of the year apprenticing under Garnett. “Anybody who’s spent a season with him, they appreciate how unique of a teammate he is. You don’t have many guys who are so about everybody else on the team, to where they’re lending their wisdom, their time. He shares everything he’s been through, mistakes he’s made, everything.”

Plumlee, Brooklyn’s top pick out of Duke in last year’s draft, had heard all about Garnett’s ferocity – with rivals and sometimes teammates – by the time he arrived last fall. Then he got an earful more from longtime coach and NBA analyst Doug Collins. “He went on and on, about how this was the best situation for me, that it didn’t matter that I fell in the draft,” Plumlee said. “He couldn’t say enough good things about [Garnett].”

The veteran made a project out of the rookie and it showed: Plumlee averaged 6.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in November and December but was up to 9.2 and 6.1 in March and April, earning a spot on the all-rookie first team.

“He’s the best for a young guy coming in,” Plumlee said. “He takes as much time as anybody to talk, to help, to explain stuff. Not just basketball stuff but off the court – your money, dealing with family and friends. His mentorship extends beyond just basketball.”

That came mostly in conversation on planes, the sort of stuff that has Sam Mitchell – newly named Minnesota assistant coach and Garnett’s mentor there two decades ago – convinced his old friend should carve out a role in Minnesota’s management once he retires.

Nets coach Jason Kidd also noted the influence Garnett had on younger players such as Plumlee. “From day 1 in training camp, Kevin sharing what he knows about the game and what it takes to be successful, you can see Mason has taken that information and has used it wisely,” Kidd said.

Some of those lessons still occur on the floor.

“The most impressive thing is, he always has an understanding of where he’s supposed to be,” Plumlee said. “And at this point in his career, he’s consumed with getting the next guy going, getting the next guy open. He’s all about screening to get Paul [Pierce] open, get Joe [Johnson] open. And then obviously everything on defense. How he talks. How he guards.”

In returning, Garnett would join only Kevin Willis (21), Robert Parish (21) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in playing at least 20 NBA seasons. The 15-time All-Star already ranks 10th all-time in games, sixth in minutes, third in defensive rebounds, 11th in rebounds 17th in points, 18th in steals, 20th in blocks and 49th in assists.

30 Comments

  1. I want to see him get another ring. But Brooklyn might not be ideal though.. He’s been great over the past a couple of decades as a player on and off the court.

  2. Kingdom Man says:

    KG’s still in the league??? As what, a cheerleader???

  3. style2 says:

    If you know anything about sports, you know that we have witnessed a great player. ( a Warrior )

  4. Jimmy says:

    YESSSSS let’s go KG! Average 20 pts and 9 rbs, lol jk. The Nets should really do all they can though to go kinda far in the eastern playoffs next season (depending on how the other teams look.) Especially since they wanted to win a championship so bad and make that final run with this group. :( so sad if KG and Paul lose their last playoff game together at home.

  5. patientceltsfan says:

    To the people complaining about KG’s contract, I bet KG would want to play next season ‘almost’ no matter how much he was getting paid, he still feels he has something to prove after last season. Look at the other contracts Brooklyn has on the books and it is probably still only the fourth worst contract Brooklyn is currently committed too, value wise.

    • asdf says:

      hehe doesnt matter how much garnett makes, brooklyn are way over the cap anyways:p

      And their owner is filthy rich:p

    • BillyRay says:

      umm yeah all those big contracts and they dont have a draft pick for like 8 years… too old of player with big contracts as well, good job prokorov

  6. KratosRage says:

    KG is the man! Future Hall of Famer. KG is one of the hardest working NBA player I’ve seen. All heart all game. Another championship would be sweeter

  7. KG Fanatic says:

    Welcome back big ticket wish you all the best and when you feel it is time to retire, hope to see you go back to Boston and retire your number. Will always be a celtic and a fan of KG no matter where he goes, get PP to return with you.

    • Dionte Christmas says:

      Yes! Number 5 going in the rafters baby. I hope Ainge and the ownership make it happen and bring back KG and Truth for a big ceremony

      • OldCelt says:

        As much as I’d love to see no.5 retired in Boston, I still think it’ll be fair to retire no.21 at Minnesota. Maybe both? :)

  8. Yams says:

    C’mon guys…. Surely KG? He might be old but he can still contribute… Go for Nash, he’s not playing anymore

  9. LemW says:

    If Kevin Garnett were a free agent would the Brooklyn Nets offer him a 12 million one year contract?

  10. imissthethunder says:

    Too bad he couldn’t play his last year with the Celtics or Minnesota…

  11. Mada says:

    8 years ago, this would have been an interesting article. If it were 8 years ago, I could have excitedly said: “l’d like to read about Kevin Garnett!” But it’s 2014 , and I’d say, who cares?

  12. Heat Fan says:

    Not a fan at all, his POOR sportsmanship is a disgrace, you don’t storm off the court, you stay and shake hands period.

    EVERY Heat player shook hands with the Spurs, proud Heat Fan!

    • The Real Deal says:

      Welcome to the 90s son.

      • Dionte Christmas says:

        Real talk! The game is changing but find me one of the true legends of the game shaking hands in that scenario. Kobe? MJ? Bird/Magic? Not a chance…

  13. KG is a great player but age is catching up. I hope next season will be as exciting as it was on the last. The drama has already started will trade rumors and free agencies.

  14. Solomon says:

    Kg is a old saltshaker

  15. Michael C says:

    This guy is only opting to play for $$$$$$$$ .. Amazing career, but KG needs to hang em up as it was bad enough watching him attempt to be elite in these playoffs. Poor little bugger…

    • aces says:

      Ppl always look at numbers n especially offense when talking about players…Kg was still nets best defensive player, switched out on screens n stayed in front of gaurds, had to play center alot more than he’s done in his career. His jump shot was off whigh was cuz of not having lift which was due to injuries. Only player in top 50 in all 5 major stats. Hope he stays healthy and finishes his career strong next yr.

    • DragonofPeg says:

      Played much better D then Mr.injury prone. Brook lopez

  16. yes it’s really great jorney for me about this website

  17. cw says:

    Why would anyone still pay him?

    • noname says:

      y not, one of the best big mans in the decade

    • eduard91 says:

      Some players are worth more in intangibles than they are worth in stats. Garnett, with his leadership, off-ball screening, basketball IQ and pesky defense, is worthy of those 12 million $.

    • Jack says:

      Your words shows how poorly your appreciation and knowledge of the game is. Pity

    • Dom says:

      because he’s a living legend and he’s one of the best mentors and teammates to have?

    • TadaDoctorK says:

      You dont understand the game (at least leadeship, confidence and work ethic part). Also you don’t grasp the value of what a guy like him brings to the table cause of who he is and what he’s been thru. The ones that do will pay him and his team will have some success that he will help anyway he can unlike the crybabies like LBJ, Melo and Dwight under the pretext that they want to win. Just the fight that Brooklyn had this past season, comming from behind to making the playoffs was at least half amazing and he for sure contributed to that.