NBA legend retired since 2016, club still pays him millions to this day

It is generally nothing unusual in the NBA for professional basketball players to remain on a team’s payroll long after they have left. In the case of former superstar Kevin Garnett, however, things are special.

The 2.11 meter long former star, formerly a member of the legendary Boston Celtics trio “The Big Three”, has not been under contract with the club since 2013.

NBA: Paid professionals are still not uncommon

There are plenty of examples of NBA players who continue to be paid by their former clubs. Josh Smith, for example, was on the Detroit Pistons’ payroll for $5.3 million annually through the start of the 2020/2021 season, even though he had not played in the NBA since the 2017/2018 season, in which he only played three games had.

Another example is Luol Deng. In 2016, Deng signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Then, when the Lakers made some changes in the front office, he lost his role on the team.

Nevertheless, Deng, who had long since retired, remained on the Lakers’ books until the start of the 2022/2023 season due to the expansion clause in his contract.

Kevin Garnett: 35 million in five years despite retirement

While the examples mentioned are some of the most famous cases of the last decade, according to recent reports, there is an even more famous player who is paid $5 million a year by the Boston Celtics, even though he ended his career in 2016 and last played for the club in 2013 stood on the parquet. We’re talking about Kevin Garnett.

According to two sources close to the NBA, Garnett has received a whopping $35 million from the Celtics over seven years since his retirement. His contract expires next year.

In an article published in 2011 one source is quoted as follows:

“Garnett’s self-funded pension (other than his NBPA pension) will be quite generous. Two sources told that the Celtics forward will receive $35 million after his retirement.”

“He will receive $5 million annually for seven years, the result of the deferred salaries Garnett and his agent Andy Miller negotiated in his last two contract extensions.”

“The share that will be due this season could be affected by the games lost due to the lockout, but it is far from the case that Garnett will be cut off from money next spring.”

(Editor’s note: In 2011 there was a so-called “lockout” in the NBA. Since the teams were unable to agree on a new collective agreement with the players’ union, all players were locked out by their clubs and no longer received salaries during this time. In addition, players and clubs were no longer allowed to come into contact with each other at this time, so neither training nor games took place. After 161 days, both sides finally agreed on a new collective agreement. Play resumed and the 2011-2012 NBA season started 1 month late in December, but was reduced from 82 to 66 games.)

Jean Harris

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