Kevin Garnett Retires From the NBA After 21 Years
After 21 seasons, superstar power forward Kevin Garnett is reportedly set to retire. It has been reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves star is close to a buyout with the team and will not be returning for the upcoming season.
Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune reported on Wednesday that talks were underway concerning a buyout of Garnett's contract, but it wasn't clear if that meant the man the Timberwolves drafted out of high school back in 1995 was walking away from the game for good.
“I have not talked with him at all,’’ was Taylor's position at the time. “We have to decide, in the next couple weeks, if he’s going to play or not play. I’m waiting for him. I sent him a message, told him, ‘I need you to make a decision.’ I just haven’t heard from him.’’ But citing a league source, the Star Tribune reported on Friday that Garnett and the Timberwolves had come to an agreement and a retirement announcement was expected shortly.
Garnett was drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves out of Chicago's Farragut Academy in 1995; making him the first NBA player drafted directly from high school since 1975. Growing into his role as a strarter, the versatile big man fans dubbed "The Big Ticket" became a breakout star and in 1997, the franchise decided to make Garnett the cornerstone of the organization; signing the 19-year old to the largest contract in NBA history (at the time); an extension worth $126 million over six years in what was considered a very risky move. Nonetheless, KG would become perennial All-Star for the team and a franchise that didn't make the playoffs in the first six years of it's existence became one of the more consistent teams in the West.
In 2000, he would take gold with USA Basketball at the Sydney Olympics. Garnett would also become an All-NBA forward, and eventually earned MVP honors in 2004; but the Timberwolves failed to successfully build around their star. After 12 seasons, Garnett had failed to ever reach the NBA Finals. With the once-promising Timberwolves sputtering and Garnett aged 31, change was imminent; and the Timberwolves orchestrated a trade for Garnett to the Boston Celtics in 2007; with the Celtics sending Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, cash considerations and draft picks to Minnesota for their franchise player. The 7-for-1 deal was the most players that had ever been traded for one player in NBA history.
In Boston, Kevin Garnett would team with longtime Celtic Paul Pierce and the newly-acquired Ray Allen to form a new "Big 3" in Beantown. Under the guidance of coach Doc Rivers, the new-look Celtics finished the 2007-2008 season with the best record in the NBA. They would meet their hated longtime rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the NBA Finals; beating the Lakers in six games, giving Garnett is first and only NBA title and the Celtics organization it's first championship since 1986.
The "Big 3" era in Boston would see the team become one of the most fearsome in the NBA, anchored by defense, which was led by the ferocity of Kevin Garnett, who would earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2008. But age began to wear on the core of Garnett's Celtics and after the defection of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat in 2012, the "Big 3" era started to end in Boston. Rivers would leave Boston to coach the Los Angeles Clippers a year later, and Garnett and Pierce were traded to the Brooklyn Nets that same offseason.
Garnett never meshed well in Brooklyn, and after one season, agreed to waive his no-trade clause and be sent back to Minnesota. He rejoined the Timberwolves in the middle of the 2014-2015 season. He retires as the franchise leader in games played, points scored, minutes played, assists, steals and blocks. With Garnett's retirement, he joins Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant as former MVPs who have called it a career in 2016.
Check out some reactions to KG's retirement below.