Kevin Garnett might very well buy the Minnesota Timberwolves some day, but it won’t happen anytime soon – he’s not quite done playing for them. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the most recent momentum suggests that the future Hall-of-Famer will return in 2015-2016 to play a record-tying 21st season.
The 38 year-old Garnett is a free agent this summer, but has maintained since his deadline trade back to Minnesota that he’ll be with the Timberwolves for the long-haul. He never specified in what capacity, however, and has openly talked of potential front office involvement in addition to ownership.
Reports immediately following Garnett’s return to Minnesota indicated he’d play two more seasons following 2014-2015 before hanging it up for good. But the intel was never confirmed, and that nagging injuries have forced Garnett to miss 23 of a possible 27 games with the ‘Wolves makes it easy to believe this season could be his last.
Thankfully, that perception appears premature. The 2004 MVP’s on-court impact next season will be minimal, especially if he can’t stay on it consistently. Flip Saunders didn’t bring Garnett in to score points and grab rebounds, though – his influence would always be changing the ‘Wolves culture first and foremost, thus cultivating the crucial growth of Andrew Wiggins and other youngsters. KG could still do that as a loosely-affiliated staff member, but not with the clout he could as a locker room leader. That’s what matters most here.
As long as he signs a contract for something close to the veteran minimum and Saunders ensures his presence won’t block the court-time of young players, that Garnett will likely play in 2015-2016 serves as a boon for the Timberwolves. And not to mention fanboys across the country who’d have been devastated by his retirement, too.