MINNEAPOLIS – (Staff and Wire Service Report) – Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett, the former Boston Celtics champion, announced his retirement after 21 NBA seasons in the league.
“It has been a real joy to watch KG come into the league as a young man and watch him develop his skills to become one of the very best in the NBA,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “I have treasured the opportunity to see him grow as a leader. I wish him continued success in the next chapter of his life. His Minnesota fans will always cherish the memories he has provided.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Garnett and the Timberwolves reached a contract settlement earlier Friday. Garnett was signed for $8 million this season. Garnett, 40, easily the most productive player in Timberwolves franchise history, spent 13 1/2 of his 21 NBA seasons with Minnesota.
He was drafted out of high school in 1995 and developed into one of the top power forwards in NBA history.
The 15-time All-Star ranks 17th with 26,071 career points, ninth in career rebounds with 14,662 and 17th in blocked shots with 2,037.
“Kevin Garnett is one of the fiercest competitors our league has ever seen,” NBA comissioner Adam Silver said in a statment. “He held himself to the highest standard of preparation and performance for a remarkable 21 seasons. On behalf of the NBA family, I thank Kevin for his sustained excellence and the enormous impact he’s had on the game.”
Garnett played in just 38 games last season due to knee and leg injuries and averaged just 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds. His value lied more in terms of being a mentor for young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins than for his production.
The Timberwolves hired Tom Thibodeau as coach and president in the offseason as well as a new general manager in Scott Layden. The duo is charged with completing the rebuilding process and halting a playoff absence that dates back to the 2003-04 campaign.
That meant resolving the Garnett situation in a manner that would eliminate the veteran from the roster prior to Tuesday’s opening of training camp.
Garnett was drafted fifth overall out in 1995 and quickly blossomed into a major star and franchise icon. He averaged over 20 points in nine consecutive seasons and earned MVP honors in 2003-04 when he averaged 24.2 points and 13.9 rebounds.
Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007 and was part of that franchise’s 2008 championship squad.
“Very few players can affect an organization like Kevin did here in Boston, both on and off the court,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. “He led our team by example every day with his drive, his passion, and his relentless commitment to winning. While always putting team ahead of individual, Kevin earned his place among the greatest players in Celtic and NBA history.”
Garnett returned to Minnesota prior to the trading deadline in 2015, when he was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets. He played in just five games prior to the end of the season.
Upon returning to Minnesota, Garnett spoke of his desire to become part owner of the team once his playing career again. But last year’s death of Flip Saunders, the coach and president of basketball operations, began a transformation that now has Thibodeau and Layden shaping the team’s future.