EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Billy King said he hasn't received any indication from Kevin Garnett on whether he will return for a 20th NBA season. But the Nets general manager is preparing as if Garnett will be back.
"He's under contract," King said Wednesday morning after the Nets held a free-agent minicamp. "Until he tells me otherwise, he's under contract."
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Garnett, 38, had an injury-plagued season and the least productive one of his career. He averaged 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in 54 games. But he has 12 million reasons to play again, as he is due $12 million guaranteed next season.
"Until a guy tells you he's not under contract, you go on the basis that he's under contract and you got to plan accordingly," King said. "If a guy changes course and decides to retire, then you make that decision. But you don't go in thinking, 'OK, he's retiring.' You got to assume that $12 million is going to be in your cap and you plan that way. That's how you go forward."
The Nets traded away their first- and second-round draft choices, but King wouldn't rule out making a deal to get a pick. "We're still talking about acquiring a pick if possible," he said. "You are always trying to get a pick, if there is a player you want, you are always working the phone to see if you can get something. If we don't, I am not going to be disappointed."
King said Brook Lopez, who had surgery on his right foot and left ankle, will join the team in the summer league in Orlando. He won't play, but King said Lopez should "progress to the court on July 1."
Deron Williams, who had surgery on both ankles last week, is "bored" but doing well, according to King. He said Williams decided on surgery, and right away, "so we can start the year fresh."
King said the Nets are "in the process of evaluating" whether former assistant coach Lawrence Frank, who wrote daily reports last season, would continue in the same role.
King didn't necessarily agree that the Nets started a trend last year when they hired Jason Kidd, who had no experience as a coach. The Warriors hired Steve Kerr, after he turned down the Knicks' job. Now the Knicks will pursue Derek Fisher.
"Jason was the right fit for us but it may not be the right fit for somebody else," King said. "It's got to be the individual you are looking at and it has got to be the team and the situation and what you need. The first thing in order to be a head coach, you got to get somebody that is a leader, that the players will follow."
King wouldn't address Fisher because he is under contract with the Thunder.
Former Hawk Ivan Johnson, who worked out for the Nets, said last year he was offered minimum contracts from teams, including the Knicks, but he went to China because he needed more money.
"I just had my second little son and I needed money to be comfortable, so that's why I went," Johnson said. "I'm comfortable now, so I can come grind in the NBA."