NBA Rumor: Kevin Garnett Free Agency

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5 years ago via ESPN
Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves are in advanced discussions on a buyout that is expected to end Garnett’s second stint with the Wolves, according to league sources. The belief in Minneapolis, sources told ESPN.com, is that Garnett, at age 40, will opt for retirement after 21 seasons in the NBA. But the strongest signals Wednesday night pointed to Garnett and his representatives securing a settlement with the Wolves that leads to his departure from the organization with one season and $8 million left on his current contract.

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In an interview Wednesday morning, Wolves president of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau said a decision will come out of talks between Garnett and Wolves owner Glen Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune. “Glen and Kevin and his representatives are in discussions,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll keep that private for now, and we’ll see how it unfolds. But, obviously, what Kevin has meant to our league, the organization, he’s earned the right to have those discussions with Glen.” Presumably those talks include Garnett’s health and his ability — and desire — top play a 22nd NBA season. Garnett, 40, is under contract, due to be paid $8 million.

“For people to send you messages as if you were going to be back and your staff was going to be back and we had everything going in the right direction, and to get a phone call [from owner Glen Taylor] two hours before your last game basically saying, ‘I’ve changed my mind and I’m going in a different direction,’ it just kind of knocked us all for a loop. We’ve all recovered from it and moved on but if you know Kevin, Kevin is very sensitive and he’s very loyal. And there was a lot of people in that organization that was let go, and the way it was done just left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouth.”

Wolves second-year center Karl-Anthony Towns said he’s stayed in touch with Garnett throughout the offseason and believes that he does want to continue playing but hasn’t weighed everything out yet. “I talk to him a lot,” Towns told ESPN.com. “I don’t know [what he’s going to do]. He’s earned that respect to choose whenever he chooses to place his shoes up. He’s like a brother to me. If he laces them up again, we’ll be great. If he closes them up and doesn’t wear them again, he deserves [to make that choice]. “We’re all waiting anxiously. Only God and KG know what they want to do.”

The Wolves are expected to sign Garnett for a 21st NBA season sometime after July 8 and before training camp begins in October. Garnett made $12 million last season. An educated guess at a new deal: As much as $8 million a year, perhaps on a two-year deal that includes an out-clause after the first season for each side. Saunders would like to bring utilitarian and cost-efficient forward Robbie Hummel back as well. Saunders won’t discuss Garnett specifics because, per league rules, no NBA team can talk contract with Garnett or any free agent until 11 p.m. Tuesday. But he also speaks as if Garnett’s presence in the coming season is a certainty. “Listen, he wanted to come back to Minnesota; I think that’s an indication of where his heart is,” Saunders said. “That’s all I’ll say.”
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Brother Pau Gasol recently spoke with Spanish newspaper Marca, and the topic of Marc’s future came up. “Marc has earned the freedom and flexibility to make his own decision and he will do so when he decides. I know he has a lot of enthusiasm for Basquet Girona, a club in which I am also involved as vice president. He is in a different situation, because he is five years younger than me. We will see what he decides to do this season and later, I am also waiting.“