ESPN sources indicate Kevin Garnett will not retire

Amid the whirlwind of NBA news and rumors circulating today, ESPN is reporting that league sources indicate Kevin Garnett will return to the Brooklyn Nets next season, and will not retire as many thought he might.

All indications are that Kevin Garnett is preparing to return for another season with the Brooklyn Nets, according to a league source.

Barring something unforeseen or a change of heart, Garnett has indicated he will begin preparing shortly for his 20th season.

General manager Billy King reiterated on Wednesday that the Nets have been operating as if Garnett is under contract and will play next season until told otherwise. King said he has been in touch with Garnett and added that he is optimistic about having the big man back and that the 38-year-old will begin training soon.

"Yes," King said when asked if he believes Garnett will be able to play at a high level next season. "I think he's preparing earlier this year than he did last summer."

Kevin Garnett, who played in 54 games for the Nets, looked like a shell of himself towards the end of the season. He averaged 20.5 minutes per game, along with 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Ideally, the Nets would like to keep their core together for another run next season. The return of Brook Lopez from foot surgery will aid them, but they also need to re-sign some of their players who will become free agents on July 1st, among them former Celtics captain Paul Pierce.

Pierce's fate has been linked to Garnett, so if the rumors are true and KG doesn't retire, Pierce could likely stay. Pierce himself has said he has 1-2 years left in the NBA. He could also explore free agency, as he has expressed interest in joining Doc Rivers in Los Angeles, and there is always the dream that he returns to Boston to retire in green and white. But with the Clippers and other teams reportedly planning to clear a ton of cap space to try and lure LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, Pierce's free agency options could hinge on the decisions of these two All-Star free agents, and staying in Brooklyn would be the best for him financially since the Nets own his Bird rights.

When Nets GM Billy King was asked if he expects to have any difficulties in negotiating with Paul Pierce, he said:

"I will know come July 1... That is when everybody can start making offers and you get a feel for where the market is going to be. Right now you can speculate and have ideas of who may pay and what they may do but you don't know what somebody may do in the draft, make a trade."

In any event, should KG postpone his retirement, many of his fans will appreciate being able to cheer him on for one more year. Others might gripe at his faded skill set, but most will enjoy watching him beat his chest, his displays of raw emotion, and his ability to pump up the fans for one more season.