In Garnett's second season, he was paired on the court with his old friend, point guard Stephon Marbury. With this combination, the Timberwolves had their best year in franchise history, making the playoffs for the first time ever. Garnett, the unquestioned star of the team, played in the All-Star game. So when he had the opportunity to sign a contract extension with the Timberwolves at the end of the season, the Timberwolves offered him $102 million over six years to stay. He refused, believing that in another year, when he would be a free agent, he would be able to make more. After weeks of negotiations, he finally re-signed for $126 million over six years.
This contract, the most lucrative ever, led to a fight between the NBA management and the players' union over the terms of player contracts, which led to a lockout that precluded a large portion of the 1998-99 season. Under the terms of the new agreement, contracts as large as Garnett's are now banned. However, Garnett and others who were grand fathered into the agreement will be able to sign contract renewals for 105 percent of their previous contract. This means that when Garnett's current contract expires, when he will be twenty-eight and presumably at the peak of his athletic prowess, he will be eligible to receive $28 million a season.
But "I don't play basketball for the money," Garnett told Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber before the contract dispute. "I don't play it for the crowd. When I didn't have a friend, when I was lonely, I always knew I could grab that orange pill and go hoop. I could go and dunk on somebody. If things weren't going right, I could make a basket and feel better."