Bucher: NBA GMs think Kevin Garnett will retire before his current deal ends

Interesting tidbit from ESPN's Ric Bucher on a potential hold-up in any deal the Celtics try to draw up involving Kevin Garnett, as Bucher has spoken with two NBA GMs who do not think KG will finish out his current contract before retiring. From Bucher's Sulia post:
I keep being asked about deals involving Kevin Garnett going somewhere. Hard to imagine that happening if the
general view among GMs mirrors the feeling that two I spoke with have: no chance KG plays the remaining two years of his contract and no chance, with him making $11.5 million and $12 million the next two years and the super luxury tax looming.
Keep in mind, this is being said of the ultimate competitor and conditioning fiend. The execs have the ultimate respect for KG, they simply believe, no matter how he works, he can't squeeze another two seasons out of his legs and won't want to hang around just to hang around. I find it hard to imagine KG not taking, and finding, whatever means necessary to stay on the court for as long as he possibly can, but his athleticism and mobility have fallen off precipitously this season. No matter how much KG has been paid -- and, I've been told, he's earned more than any player ever in total salary -- no one has ever questioned whether he was worth every penny. KG made it so. Could he stand, for the first time, the view being otherwise? about 13 hours ago

Color me skeptical on this one. Bucher says that Garnett's athleticism and mobility have fallen off 'precipitously' this season, but I disagree. Now if we're comparing pre-2009 knee injury KG to now, there has definitely been a big-time drop off in athleticism. But from last season to this one I'm just not seeing it. He's giving the C's similar numbers per 36 minutes, while still taking the opponent's best big man as his defensive assignment each night. Add in the fact that professional athletes rarely, if ever, leave $23.5 million on the table (even when they've made over $300 million in their career), and I think that Bucher's sources are jumping the gun.

However if GM's really think this, then it doesn't matter what I think, because of course it will effect the process of potentially acquiring Garnett. There is a huge difference between paying KG for the rest of this season, and paying him for the next 2.5, but would any GM really roll the dice that Garnett would leave all that money on the table? It certainly complicates the negotiation process from Danny Ainge's end if this indeed is the perception.

If it were up to me of course, this entire report would be moot. Garnett has far more value to the Celtics (both on the court and at the ticket office), then he does to any other NBA team. And while Ainge owes it to the organization to keep his ears open to any potential deal, he also owes it to his coach and his players to see how the next few weeks go.

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13