The Wolves and Kevin Garnett are in advanced discussions on a buyout agreement, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The team believes Garnett will opt to retire, Stein adds in a full-length piece.
President of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau said earlier today that Garnett and owner Glen Taylor would have discussions about the future Hall-of-Famer’s status. Taylor previously insinuated that if Garnett decided to hang up his jersey, the team would make a good portion of his contract available to him via buyout, so the big man wouldn’t have to return for the money.
It was reported that Garnett had concerns about whether his body could endure the 82-game schedule. However, he still had the desire to play.
“Yes, theoretically, he’d like to play. But he has some doubts of his knees holding up,” Taylor said at the time. “I think he’s worried if he can play. I worry about that too. When I talked to him last year, I said, ‘Is it your knees or what?’ He said, ‘It’s my whole leg.’ ”
There may also be other factors in play. Garnett apparently wasn’t pleased with the way Sam Mitchell was fired, Justin Termine of SiriusXMNBA adds (Twitter link). Mitchell told Termine last month that the situation could play a factor in Garnett’s decision.
Additionally, former Wolves coach Flip Saunders was believed to Garnett’s strongest ally in the organization, having convinced the veteran big man to waive his no-trade clause to come to Minnesota. KG. As Stein details, KG agreed to return to the Wolves in part because he was interested in joining Saunders in a potential ownership group for the franchise down the road. Saunders passed away prior to the start of last season, and it’s not clear now where Garnett’s ownership aspirations stand.