MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kevin Garnett will get paid $8 million per season over the two-year contract he has agreed to with the Minnesota Timberwolves, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Garnett and the Timberwolves put the finishing touches on the deal earlier this week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because financial details have not been announced.
The 39-year-old Garnett made an emotional return to the Timberwolves – the franchise he essentially put on the map during 12 years here to start his career – in a February trade with the Brooklyn Nets. After a thunderous welcome in his first home game back, Garnett played just four more games the rest of the way while he dealt with knee issues and the Timberwolves went on a nose dive to the bottom of the standings.
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Team president and coach Flip Saunders said at the end of the season that Garnett likely could have played more down the stretch, but he wanted to ensure that he didn’t suffer any serious injuries that would prevent him from coming back for a 21st NBA season.
Garnett will turn 40 in May, and his statistical output has been in decline for several years. He will likely be limited to 20 minutes per game next season and will sit out many back-to-backs, but he remains an imposing presence on the defensive end and the Wolves are counting on him to instill some of his famed intensity in a roster full of young talent.
The Wolves took Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick in last month’s draft, and in many ways Garnett can provide the blueprint for success for a rookie who wasn’t even born when Garnett was drafted in 1995.
Garnett revolutionized the way the power forward position was played, ushering in a new area of long, lean big men who could also handle the ball, pass and shoot from the outside instead of staying glued to the paint all game long.
Towns follows in that mold, exhibiting 3-point range and solid court vision to go with a polished low-post game.
”I bet we’ll be talking a lot,” Towns said with a chuckle earlier this week.
The Wolves also have rookie point guard Tyus Jones, who grew up in Minnesota watching Garnett, and a pair of 20-year-olds in reigning Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins and reigning slam dunk champion Zach LaVine for Garnett to tutor.
Other Wolves youngsters including third-year forward Shabazz Muhammad and third-year center Gorgui Dieng have spoken highly of the tone Garnett set in practice last season and his willingness to engage them in conversations about his experiences.
It remains to be seen how much longer Garnett will play. The contract is guaranteed for both seasons, but Garnett spoke of eventually transitioning to ownership with the franchise and he has made a ritual the last few seasons about contemplating his future after each season ends before deciding to continue playing or retire.