Kevin Garnett

Central Notes: Parker, Bucks, Pistons, Cavs

The Bucks have looked good since acquiring Eric Bledsoe, and they’ll get another infusion of talent in the coming months, with Jabari Parker working to return from an ACL tear. Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times provides an update on Parker’s recovery, writing that the young forward is “running hard, cutting hard, doing pull up jumpers, and making crisp, sharp spin moves” in workouts at Milwaukee’s practice facility.

According to Woelfel, some Bucks officials “swear” that Parker would be capable of returning to the court right now. However, a source tells Woelfel that the team continues to take a cautious approach with the former second overall pick and will stick to a February target date for his return, as originally planned.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

Billy King Looks Back On Tenure With Nets

Former Nets GM Billy King, who is widely blamed for turning the organization into a perennial loser with no lottery picks, tells his side of the story in an interview with The Glue Guys, a Nets-themed podcast.

King touches on several controversial issues in the 45-minute session, including an effort to acquire Chris Paul, the failure to get Dwight Howard when he wanted to join the Nets and the ill-fated trade that sent three unprotected first-rounders to Boston for a package centered around veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

The highlights:

  • King tried to get Paul from New Orleans before dealing with Utah for Deron Williams. King believed he was making progress, but the deal went cold after Jeff Bowers was replaced as GM by Dell Demps. “At that time, I don’t think Dell wanted his first thing to be trading Chris Paul,” King said.
  • The Nets believed they were close to acquiring Howard from Orlando just before the 2012 trade deadline. “We went to bed as a staff — we left the office pretty late — we went to bed pretty much knowing that tomorrow we’re going to get Dwight,” King said. Magic GM Otis Smith had planned to finalize the deal the next morning, but King woke up to a text saying that Howard had elected to opt in for the following season. King reached out to Howard’s agent, who responded, “I don’t think he did,” and even Smith hadn’t heard the news when King called him. However, Smith returned the call an hour later and confirmed the news.
  • The Nets responded by trading their 2012 first-round pick to Portland in exchange for Gerald Wallace in an attempt to appease Williams and discourage him from opting out over the summer. The Blazers used that pick to draft Damian Lillard.
  • King reached out to the Celtics in 2013 because he thought he had a talented nucleus that needed veteran leadership and was interested in acquiring Pierce. Negotiations led to Garnett and Jason Terry being included and the package of picks going to Boston.
  • King made an offer to Pierce in the summer of 2014, but he got a better deal from Washington and the Nets decided not to match it. “Once that decision was made, I think it changed our thought process,” King said. “I think some of the players even thought, ‘What’s going on here? We were committed and now we’re not.” King added that he wouldn’t have made the deal with Boston if he knew he couldn’t keep Pierce longer than one season.

Kevin Garnett Trade To Warriors Vetoed In 2007

Before Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green created a powerhouse in California, the Warriors were seemingly on the verge of creating a special team in the late 2000s. However, the team was in need of a superstar player to take the team all the way and Kevin Garnett could have been that piece.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News spoke for former Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin on The TK Show and revisited a deal that could have brought the former league MVP to the Warriors. As Mullin recalls, Garnett was ready to leave the Timberwolves and pursue a championship elsewhere; and the Warriors were coming off an improbable season where they upset the No. 1 seed Mavericks in the first round of the postseason before losing to the Jazz in five games.

“After the playoff series with Utah, we had a nice group but we were trying to figure out a way to bridge the gap,” Mullin said (via RealGM). “We had a deal. Kevin Garnett was getting ready to move and I think he was being very selective. But at one point, he liked our situation.”

Acquiring “The Big Ticket” would have required a steep package but Mullin believes that Golden State was in prime position to field a championship-caliber squad, no matter the cost.

“The exact deal was probably going to be more Minnesota’s choice. We had Monta (Ellis), Andris (Biedrins), the pick itself, Jason (Richardson), Baron (Davis). We felt whatever combination they took, we had enough,” Mullin added.

However, the Warriors’ higher-ups, Chris Cohan and Robert Rowell, vetoed the deal, citing financial reasons. Garnett went on to be traded to the Celtics and form “The Big Three” alongside Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, capturing the 2007/08 NBA championship.

If money had not been an issue, Garnett could have cemented his Hall of Fame career with the Warriors.

Cavs Reached Out To Kevin Garnett About NBA Comeback

The Cavaliers’ search for a viable big man during the regular season led the defending NBA champions to future Hall-of-Famer, Kevin Garnett, Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue revealed on ESPN’s NBA Lockdown Podcast.

Garnett, 40, retired following the 2015/16 campaign after 21 NBA seasons; he joined the TNT’s Inside The NBA program as an analyst and holds a role as a consultant for the Bucks and Clippers. However, when Andrew Bogut — whose Cavaliers debut lasted less than one minute — suffered a fractured left tibia, ending his season, Lue made a call to the Timberwolves legend.

“I was like, ‘Man, you should come back and play for me.’ He was like, ‘Man, you all have a lot going on over there,‘” Lue said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “That was before we hit our stride like we’re playing well now. He was like, ‘If you and [James] Posey were still playing, I would come.’ But he said, ‘But y’all are coaching and y’all are going through what you’re going through.’ He said, ‘Ah, I’m going to sit this one out.’ I said, ‘OK. We’ll call you next year.’

With Garnett not interested, the Cavaliers ultimately turned to Larry Sanders, who left the NBA two years prior due to personal issues. His Cleveland tenure lasted just five games (13 minutes) and was mostly spent with Cleveland’s NBA D-League affiliate, the Canton Charge. On the final day of the regular season, the same day they waived Sanders, the Cavaliers signed Edy Tavares to fill the void. The team finished the season with a 51-31 record, good for second in the Eastern Conference.

The former NBA champion initially expressed interest in returning for a 22nd campaign in the offseason but Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor explained to NBA.com that Garnett was unsure his body would hold up.

Then he said, ‘I don’t know if I can,‘” Taylor said. “I asked him, ‘What does that mean?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know.’ So I asked the question but I didn’t get an answer that helped me. Yes, theoretically, he’d like to play. But he has some doubts of his knees holding up. I believe he told me exactly the truth.”

While it was a no from Garnett this season, Lue’s admission that he would call KG next season leaves the door somewhat ajar for an NBA return. For now though, Garnett seems to be enjoying his new role(s) and hasn’t expressed any public interest in making a comeback.

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Gobert, Garnett

After playing sparingly in Game 3, Jusuf Nurkic and the Trail Blazers have decided to shelve the big man once again. Per Mike Richman of the Oregonian, the Bosnian Beast will not play at all in Game 4.

He didn’t do any further damage,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of Nurkic playing through a fractured leg. “There was soreness, tenderness and it just wouldn’t be wise to have him play through that.

Limited to shifts of 3-5 minutes, Nurkic didn’t catch much of a rhythm on offense. Though he pulled down 11 rebounds, he only scored two points in his 17 minutes on the court.

There’s more from the Northwest:

  • When the Jazz tip off for Game 4 of their first-round series later tonight there’s a 50% chance that they’ll see Rudy Gobert return to action, Tim MacMahon of ESPN writes. The big man was formally updated to questionable earlier today.
  • The Jazz failed to capitalize when Clippers forward Blake Griffin left Game 3 injured but the fact that fans can ruminate on the team’s inability to slow Chris Paul simply means that they’re playing meaningful games again, Brad Rock of the Deseret News writes, and that’s something that they can be excited for.
  • For the second time in a week, former Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett spoke about his relationship with franchise owner Glen Taylor. A report on ESPN details the conversation KG had with the Associated Press, including how he felt Flip Saunders‘ passing was handled.

Kevin Garnett Talks Wolves, Glen Taylor, BIG3

Speaking to Adi Joseph of USA Today, future Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett explains that he received multiple TV offers following his retirement as a player, but opted to join TNT because Turner was the only network willing to give him the kind of unique role he sought, rather than having him become a panelist on a studio show.

Although Garnett’s conversation with Joseph focused in part on KG’s analyst role with TNT, the longtime NBA big man also weighed in on a few other topics of note, including why he doesn’t currently have a role with the Timberwolves. Here are a few notable Garnett quotes from the piece, which is worth reading in full:

On whether he might return to the Wolves as a front office exec or minority owner:

“It seemed like it was perfect for how Flip [Saunders] organized and put it together and designed it. Obviously when he left us, [team owner] Glen [Taylor] saw differently and wanted to go a different way. I’ve always said I wanted to be a part of an organization that is about winning more progressively, in that direction. Minnesota seemed like a perfect fit for that. That has changed. I don’t see myself doing that any time soon, but that still is a goal of mine. I would like to be part of an organization that is part of winning, that I can help the young guys progress. So that’s still a dream but not a priority at this point.”

On whether it was disappointing that the possibility of taking on a role with the Wolves became less viable:

“A little bit. A little bit. To say Debbie Downer is an understatement. It was a huge disappointment and one that showed me the true Glen Taylor. It showed me how he really feels. When this guy got the team, it was worth $90MM. When I left it, it was worth somewhere in the $400 [millions]. That was never taken into account in my value or none of that. I guess I served my purpose, and I was on to the next. So it’s all good. So it’s all good. I’m moving on and taking my ball and playing somewhere else. (Laughs.)”

On whether he has the urge to keep playing basketball, possibly in Ice Cube’s BIG3 league:

“Before I walked away from the Timberwolves, I was prepared to play a couple years. So when I walked away from that, I hung my shoes up for good and put the glass on it. And I have not had an itch to be out there at all. So, no. Ice Cube’s people called me from the [BIG3] — three-on-three doesn’t do it for me, bruh, I’m sorry.”

Clippers Notes: Crawford, Griffin, Jordan, Garnett

Coach Doc Rivers and his Clippers teammates are encouraging sixth man Jamal Crawford to shoot his way out of his slump, Dan Woike of the Orange County Register reports. Over the last eight games, he’s averaging 9.0 points while shooting just 29% percent from the field and 19% from long range. But Rivers says he needs Crawford to be a scorer on the second unit. “Jamal’s so talented that he’ll start being a passer and setting people up because he doesn’t feel it,” Rivers told Woike. “And we need him to shoot.” Crawford indicated to Woike that the other players are thinking all the same lines. “All my teammates are saying, ‘Be more aggressive.’ Doc’s saying, ‘Stop thinking. Just play,’” Crawford said. “That definitely makes you more comfortable, having that support.”

In other news involving the team:

  • Blake Griffin could return to action later this month, according to an Associated Press report. Griffin was projected to miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing minor right knee surgery on December 20 and Rivers indicated that timetable still applies. Griffin, who can become a free agent after the season if he declines his $21.4MM option, has missed the last 13 games.
  • DeAndre Jordan‘s interior presence has allowed Rivers to successfully employ small-ball lineups in Griffin’s absence, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. The Clippers are holding opponents to 96.4 points a game, 40.4% shooting and 27.6 % on 3-point attempts during their current five-game winning streak. “It makes your job easier because you can really get into the ball, be aggressive and get up into guys because you know you have a big shot blocker back there,” guard Raymond Felton told DiGiovanna. “When a guy is as athletic as he is, when he can move laterally and backwards with a guard coming at him downhill, it only helps me to really get into the ball and be able to pick up 94 feet.”
  • Kevin Garnett, hired as a consultant this week, has begun working with Jordan and other Clippers big men, DiGiovanna writes in the same piece. “I don’t know if he has a defined role except to work with the bigs and to just give knowledge to whoever wants it about being a teammate, about winning,” Rivers said.

Kevin Garnett To Work With Clippers, Bucks As Consultant

Kevin Garnett, who visited the Clippers during training camp, was in attendance again today at the team’s facility, having officially joined the club as a consultant, per Bill Oram of The Orange County Register (Twitter link). Garnett is expected to work with the team’s big men this season.

“He’s hired in here as a consultant,” Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson said of Garnett (link via Andrew Han of ESPN.com). “So I’m sure he’ll be in and out when it presents itself for him to work with our guys. And I think when he’s here, it’s important for our bigs to take advantage of him being out here on the floor. Because he brings so much to the table, has so much to offer for the game of basketball, it’s not even funny.”

During his time with the Clippers today, Garnett worked with DeAndre Jordan individually prior to the club’s practice. The veteran center was enthusiastic about KG’s new role with the team, calling it “amazing,” per Han.

“He’s a great spirit and a great basketball mind, a Hall of Fame guy,” Jordan said. “Someone I looked up to coming up and even playing against. So any pointers he can give me, or tips, it’s great. I just want to be a student when he’s here.”

Although Garnett is acting as a consultant with the Clippers, it seems that Los Angeles isn’t the only team with which he’ll work. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reports (via Twitter) that Garnett, who has launched an “elite consulting business,” will assists the Bucks as well. Wolfson adds that some members of the Timberwolves would love to see KG help in Minnesta as well.

When Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported in October that Garnett was talking to clubs about a consulting role, he noted that the future Hall-of-Famer may end up being hired by multiple teams. In that scenario, KG would make “periodic stops” into various NBA cities to work with certain players. In Milwaukee, players like John Henson, Greg Monroe, Miles Plumlee, and rookie Thon Maker could benefit from working with Garnett.

Western Notes: Garnett, Cousins, Sabonis

Clippers coach Doc Rivers knew Kevin Garnett was going to leave the game quietly, as Jerry Zgoda of The StarTribune writes. “[Garnett and Tim Duncan are] complete opposites and yet they’re very much the same in some ways,” said Rivers, the coach of the Clippers. “In that way, you knew Kevin was going to leave quietly, which you don’t say about Kevin very often. You knew Tim would the same thing, and they both did. They both literally left the game and said goodbye and you didn’t see them again.” Rivers, who coached Garnett for six seasons in Boston, added that the future Hall of Famer misses the camaraderie in the locker room, but does not miss everything about the game. “I don’t think he misses the work anymore, and he put in as much work as any player I’ve ever seen,” Rivers added.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t think the Kings are playing with enough urgency, James Ham of Comcast Sportsnet writes. “Once again, we’re just waiting until the last minute to play with energy, play with a sense of urgency, play with some pride, play with some heart,” Cousins lamented. “I mean, it’s all fun, it’s exciting in the end – you feel like we’re playing good and making the right steps, but these games are only going to continue to get harder for us if we wait until the last quarter or I guess you could say second half to try to make a push. We’ve got to start having complete games.”
  • Coach Dave Joerger understands the center’s frustration and said that changes are coming for the Kings, Ham passes along in the same piece. “I’ve seen enough, I’m going to play small” Joerger said. “DeMarcus is going to play center. I don’t know who else is going to play with him, but it gives us more zip, more life, more experience.”
  • The Thunder are heavily wagering on Domantas Sabonis becoming part of the team’s core, Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes.  Sabonis has started at power forward this season and while he’s impressed at times offensively, he has struggled overall. Tjarks argues that the Thunder can’t wait too long for Sabonis to improve his play since they have a superstar in his prime and they needs to give him the best chance at winning right now.

Kevin Garnett Discusses Consultant Role With Cavs, Bucks

TNT’s Inside the NBA crew welcomed Kevin Garnett to the network last night, as the future Hall-of-Famer (Twitter link) joined Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal on the studio show. While Garnett has a new gig as a special contributor for TNT, he continues to explore other opportunities as well, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that KG is talking with multiple teams – including the Cavaliers and Bucks – about a “coaching consultant” role.

Following Garnett’s retirement announcement earlier this year, we heard that the longtime NBA big man was drawing interest from teams like the Cavs and Clippers for a potential coaching job. However, it sounds like any team that hires Garnett this year wouldn’t expect him to take on a full-time role, given his commitment to TNT.

As Wojnarowski details, it’s even possible that Garnett could be hired by more than one NBA team. In that scenario, KG would make “periodic stops” into various NBA cities to work with certain players, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Garnett, who turned 40 in May, had been under contract with the Timberwolves as a player for this season, but made the decision in September to call it a career. Minnesota waived him at that point, leaving his $8MM cap hit on the team’s books, but freeing him up to explore new opportunities.

During training camps, Garnett was spotted spending some time with the Clippers and old friend Doc Rivers. Though KG didn’t join the team in an official capacity, Rivers suggested at the time that he certainly had room for the former Celtic on his staff. “I’m going to offer him something,” Rivers said. “I don’t want to say too much right now. I just know he’d be a great asset to any team.”

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