While the Brooklyn Nets have no shortage of difficult decisions to make during the offseason, there is one decision that’s out their hands: whether veteran power forward Kevin Garnett will retire or return for the final year of his contract.
There are many that would like to see Garnett hang up his high tops and give the Nets a little bit more flexibility against the salary cap, but losing Garnett would be a big blow to Brooklyn. He’s exactly the kind of role player the team needs if they hope to make a deep run next season.
His critics are correct in saying that his salary is not that of a role player, gaining scant minutes coming off the bench. He’s due to earn $12 million next season, a great payday for someone of his age and ability level, but he can contribute in plenty of ways that will fail to show themselves on the stat sheet.
He’s a veteran with a loud, strong voice who can help motivate the rest of the guys on the team. He’s been part of championship teams in the past, so he knows what it takes to win. Perhaps more importantly, he’s been on high-profile teams that have failed to take home the championship trophy, so he knows better than anyone what can derail a team.
Most of all, he is a veteran with the respect of almost every player in the league. Both star players, like Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, along with younger players looking to leave an impact on the NBA, will heed Garnett’s word, which provides a great resource for fledgling coach Jason Kidd.
Garnett is far past the point in his career where he will earn his monstrous salary with his on-the-floor plays and stats. He still can fill a role on a title contender, however. A veteran voice with an inextinguishable competitive fire that knows his role and can motivate those around him is a key piece to a successful roster.
Nets GM Billy King said earlier this week that he is planning for Garnett to return next season. The Nets and their fans should be crossing their fingers, hoping King’s prediction is on point.