Nets Notebook: Kevin Garnett fights benching even in preseason

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett was not happy to sit on the bench Tuesday despite playing at the Sixers the night before.
Credit: Getty Images

For virtually any player in the NBA not named Kevin Garnett, the conversation about them getting a preseason game off would be brief. If a player has logged a lot of minutes and the team is playing a third game in four nights, the response is usually “OK, no problem, coach.”

For Garnett, the tone is more serious.

He drew laughs on media day when he said conversations about resting during the regular season had not “gone well” and Monday in Philadelphia said he was playing the role of “good soldier.”

“I think one we’re playing three in four nights and also he’s been great for us up to this point in training camp, so I thought it was time to reward him and give him the night off even though he didn’t want to,” Kidd said. “I think he understands he can get his work in now and cheer the guys on.

“There’s always going to be times that are in agreement or disagree, you have to find what makes sense and this makes sense. It is preseason, but he’s a competitor.”

Kidd said he would take the time off later in his career, but not many have the competitive makeup of Garnett.

“I would love to do that. I would do it during the season,” Kidd said. “That’s the makeup of KG. He’s a competitor. Today at shootaround, I told him, ‘No running.’ He’s running to get back on defense.

“That’s who he is. He’s a winner. He’s always paying attention to detail. Anytime he puts on that jersey or those basketball shoes, he’s a competitor. But yeah, he’s one of the rare ones that wants to play in every game and some of us, including myself want a day off, hopefully it would be a week off.”

Those exchanges about sitting in back-to-backs will initially occur the second weekend of the season when the Nets visit Washington on Nov. 8 and host Indiana the following night.

“I know throughout the season, I’m going to have to answer this question but this is a deep team and I think that’s the way he sees it,” Kidd said.

Garnett has played 39 minutes in his first three preseason games. He has scored 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting while grabbing 15 rebounds.

Kidd looks ahead to jersey retirement

Hours before last night’s game, there was a rehearsal of the jersey ceremony that will take place Thursday at halftime when the Nets hoist Kidd’s No. 5 to the rafters.

Kidd said he wanted the ceremony to take place during a less distracting portion of the year, which is why it will take place in the team’s final home preseason game.

Though if Kidd has his way, the event would take place while he was in the interview room in his coaching sweats.

“We can do it right now,” Kidd said. “They can put it up. They don’t need to hear from me. It’s a great honor. It goes without saying my coaches and teammates belong up there too because they were a big part of that.”

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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