EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Upon arriving at the team's training facility recently, signaling his offseason was virtually over and it was nearly time to get return to work, Kevin Garnett joined some of his new teammates in a pickup game.
Let's just say watching the likes of Bojan Bogdanovic and Sergey Karasev quickly caught his eye, leading to some vintage Garnett brainstorming.
"First thing I thought was these guys can really shoot the ball," Garnett said Friday at Nets media day. "Second thing was [to] learn how to pronounce their names, if not give them nicknames right off the bat. And then, what kind of rookie duties [am I] going to give these guys?"
Yep, he's back all right.
On the eve of officially beginning his 20th season in the NBA -- and joining Robert Parrish, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Willis as the only ones to play two decades or more in the league -- Garnett was in a good, spirited mood. Already penciled in as the starter at power forward by coach Lionel Hollins, the 6-11 veteran -- who called longtime teammate Paul Pierce's exit from Nets "bittersweet" -- appeared refreshed and eager to get things going.
"It's great to have him back," Joe Johnson said. "I felt last year coming in he was a bit reserved, [considering] KG tends to speak his mind at any given time. But it's great to have him. He's the life of the locker room, a great leader, very vocal, and we need him -- not only in the locker room but on the floor as well. So, he helps in so many ways and I'm glad he's back."
Garnett, 38, who missed 19 games with back spams last season and posted the lowest numbers of his career in every major statistical category, insisted retirement isn't a part of his vocabulary. "I don't like to use that," Garnett said. "I like to come in each year and assess it."