The revamped Nets have a lot of big stars and a lot of big egos. Two of them clashed recently when first-year coach Jason Kidd talked to 15-time All-Star center Kevin Garnett about the possibility of not playing in back-to-back games.
"It didn't go too well. I'm just being honest," Garnett said Monday when asked about the conversation. "But I understand what he was saying. He's trying to make sure I'm durable and can get through an 82-game season. I understand what it is. He's not coming to me personally or as a man or anything like that. He's looking to better me. So I will try to be receptive like that."
Garnett made his comments at the Nets' media day at Barclays Center, and they were a telling reminder of the challenges of building a title contender. Kidd, who began last season as the Knicks' starting point guard, must find a way to mesh veteran newcomers Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko into a team that won 49 games last season but lost to the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.
It is understandable that Kidd wants Garnett to take it easy on his 37-year-old body. After Kidd played major minutes at the beginning of last season, the wear and tear showed, especially in the playoffs.
The Nets have a lot of depth up front in Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans and Kirilenko, big men who can help them get through their 20 sets of back-to-back games.
Garnett played in 17 back-to-back sets last season with Boston, and his overall numbers -- 15.5 points, .558 shooting, 7.0 rebounds in the second game -- revealed no slippage.
"I just don't want to be told anything," Garnett said. "Hopefully, I've earned the right to have an opinion in something that I'm doing. But more importantly, seriously, from a chemistry standpoint, it's important for me to be out there with everybody, and I think it'll speed up the chemistry process a little quicker."