Some half-baked rumors of Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets popped and immediately I felt queasy for Nets fans. With an already ludicrous amount of money invested in noticeably over-the-hill talent it seemed verging on sadistic to imagine Kevin Garnett exiled to Barclays to play out the last couple of years of his amazing career. The deal is unlikely for any number of reasons, including the presumption that Garnett would even agree to such a trade and what exactly the Nets were offering in return. The Nets are stuck in a sort of neutral gear and look destined to inhabit playoff purgatory, a position most recently exemplified by the Atlanta Hawks or the Denver Nuggets. No problem getting to the postseason, huge problems advancing. A few years ago people were still arguing whether Chris Paul or Deron Williams was a better point guard. I think that argument has been decisively settled, no offense Deron. Gerald Wallace has crashed one too many times. The wear and tear on his bones has reduced to him to a shell of his former self. Joe Johnson peaked years ago.
Now add Kevin Garnett to that core and what you’ve added is a very tall man who will be very vocal and score you anywhere from twelve to fourteen points a game. People are delusional if they think KG is an impact player at this stage in his career. His offense is now predicated almost entirely on long mid-range jump shots. He’s still a decent defender, but his rebounding has plummeted as of late, and has been in a steady decline since arriving in Boston. That is the bane of old knees, and next year the knees will be even older, and the rebounding will continue to suffer. So the Nets do not want to do this. Billy King should look elsewhere if he wants a jump shooting big man. There are a lot of those, and most of them are younger and scowl less.
As for Kevin Garnett, he has his legacy to consider. Ubuntu is dead. Leon Powe, PJ Jones, Eddie House, James Posey, Big Baby Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Ray Allen, and now Doc Rivers, gone, all gone. A surly Rajon Rondo and old-man Paul Pierce are all that remains. One title and several good playoff runs and it is all over. Garnett gave everything he had to Minnesota. He turned a moribund franchise around almost by himself, amidst tragedy and a continually brutal Western Conference and fell short year after year. People were happy he got his ring, most anyway. But does he jump ship to chase yet another championship, this time not as a catalyst but as a role-player? And would any contender even want Garnett at this point? The Spurs have Tim Duncan. The Heat have Chris Bosh. The Thunder need to upgrade from Perkins but they want to get younger and faster, not older and slower. The Grizzlies boast the best big-man tandem in the league, the Nuggets are built on blazing athleticism, and the Clippers aren’t allowed to poach any Celtics for at least a year. Maybe the Pacers might fit, but even that is a stretch, and it is a testament to how far he’s fallen that it’s not a foregone conclusion that Kevin “Anything Is Possible” Garnett would push any team to the next level
The best thing for Kevin Garnett to do is do may be what he did in Minnesota. Stick it out with the team that took a chance on him and then fight the good fight for as long as he can.