MINNEAPOLIS — As well as Kevin Garnett has been playing for the Boston Celtics, there's no way to completely look past the reality that he is in the twilight years of his career. And with him becoming a free agent this summer, it's not a given that he'll re-up with the Celtics or even take his talents to another city.
Retirement, which seems highly unlikely based on his play of late, is still nonetheless an option he can pursue.
So with each road trip, there's an unspoken understanding that this may very well be the last time folks get to see one of the greatest all-around talents to ever set foot on an NBA floor.
The genesis of Garnett's NBA greatness goes back to Minnesota, which is where the journey from high school phenom to NBA lottery pick, to future Hall of Famer, all began.
You can bet tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that Garnett plied his craft with for more than a decade, will be one fans will embrace.
And Garnett, mindful of his many fans still in the Twin Cities, doesn't take their support for granted.
"It's always special to go back to true fans and sort of your foundation," Garnett said.
But those warm and fuzzy feelings for the fans don't quite extend to the organization.
"But as far as that franchise, I have nothing positive to say," Garnett said.
If you spend any amount of time around Garnett, you'll quickly find that trust and loyalty hold great weight with him.
Of all that went wrong with his relationship with the Timberwolves, the breakdown on those two points still doesn't sit right with Garnett.
When you see LeBron James "taking his talents" to South Beach, or Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul forcing a trade, they all did it in part because they felt a move would better position them to succeed even if it meant walking away from an organization that made them the face of their respective franchise.
And that's where Garnett is different.
He could have easily forced Minnesota to trade him on multiple occasions as they struggled to move beyond the first round of the playoffs, but instead he continued to stick with the Timberwolves in their efforts to improve the talent around him.
Garnett never asked to be traded, but indicated to the Timberwolves front office that there needed to be an upgrade in talent on the roster.
Rather than build around Garnett, the Timberwolves decided to sever ties with Garnett in 2007 and included him as the central figure in a seven-player deal that ultimately landed Garnett in Boston.
"I'm confident I made the right decision (to trade Garnett), even though it was a difficult one," Wolves owner Glen Taylor said at the time.
The Timberwolves have been among the NBA's worst teams since Garnett was traded, and haven't been to the playoffs since 2004.
Minnesota is indeed in the playoff hunt this year courtesy of Kevin Love who has been arguably the NBA's best player in the month of March.
"Kevin Love is playing at a high level," Garnett said. "I think he's rejuvenated the city as far as basketball goes."
But as you listen to Garnett, it's clear that there's still a bitter taste in his mouth with Timberwolves management when it comes to how his time with the franchise came to an end.
When you spend more than a decade with one team, it's only human nature to expect that to be your one and only franchise.
So for a guy who places as much value on trust and loyalty that Garnett does, there's always going to be some uneasiness between him and the team that drafted him straight out of high school.
"In this day and age, you have options and you're motivated to use those options," Garnett said recently. "Loyalty is rare these days, on both sides. And players get beat up a bit when we move, going to different areas to better ourselves and better our families versus the organizations not being a little more loyal, but it's a business; we all know. I'm not bitching and complaining about it; never have. But I'm very conscious of it, and it is reality."