Kevin Garnett said in 2012 he’d retire as a Celtic.
A year later, he was playing for the Nets.
Paul Pierce has taken credit for convincing Garnett to waive his no-trade clause and join him in Brooklyn. But Pierce apparently wasn’t just trying to get Garnett to leave Boston. Pierce convinced Garnett – who retired a couple weeks ago – to keep playing at all.
It should have ended in 2013, in Boston, in the sports-starved city Garnett fed for six seasons. “People don’t know how close KG was [to retiring],” Paul Pierce told The Vertical recently. “He was done.” It was Pierce, knowing the Celtics stars were about to be sold off, desperate to build a title-ready contender elsewhere, who persuaded Garnett to come to Brooklyn, to squeeze more out of his breaking-down body.
Garnett spent a season and a half with the Nets then a season and a half with the Timberwolves. Neither team went anywhere, and Garnett achieved no legacy-altering milestones (unless you consider defensive rebounds legacy-altering). Aside from one magical night in his return to Minnesota, he didn’t get much in those final few years beyond more wear and tear on his body. I wonder whether he regrets continuing his career – though his competitiveness certainly explains why he did.
There’s no questions the Celtics are happy Garnett kept playing, though. They got great draft picks out of it.