INDEPENDENCE: Even in retirement, Kevin Garnett is in demand.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue acknowledged Thursday he has discussed the possibility of Garnett joining the Cavs coaching staff in some capacity, although Garnett remains undecided on his future.
“I talked to him about it. I know his wife is pushing for it a lot,” Lue said. “Brandi is pushing for it, trying to get him to come and coach. He says he’s not ready yet … he’s back and forth. We’ll see. But I’d definitely make a spot for him if he wanted to come back and coach.”
Garnett, who turned 40 in May, appears to have plenty of options. He was a guest at the Los Angeles Clippers practice on Thursday and Clippers coach Doc Rivers told ESPN.com last week he wanted to make room for Garnett in some capacity if the future hall of famer was interested.
“I’m going to offer him something,” Rivers said last week. “I don’t want to say too much right now. I just know he’d be a great asset to any team.”
Rivers made it clear while coaching Lue that he would keep a spot on his coaching staff in case Lue wanted it upon retirement. Now Rivers and Lue, close friends and mentors, are both doing the same for Garnett, who retired last week after 21 magnificent seasons in the NBA.
Garnett ranks fifth in NBA history in games played and third in minutes. He’s in the top 20 in scoring, field goals made, steals and blocks and he’s in the top 10 in rebounds.
Lue referred to Garnett as “one of my best friends” and was sad to see him retire.
“Didn’t want to see him do it. I thought he would’ve been the first player in NBA history to play in his teens, 20s, 30s and 40s,” Lue said. “I just thought that would’ve been great for him.”
If Garnett eventually decides to enter coaching, the Clippers could hold the edge on the Cavs. Besides reuniting with Rivers, Garnett would stay close to his home in Malibu, Calif.
Still, Lue has made it clear to Garnett there is room for him in Cleveland if he is interested. Lue said Garnett will be attending the Cavs’ home opener next month when they receive their rings and raise the franchise’s first championship banner.
“Everything he’s done, he’s been a trendsetter,” Lue said. “Just seeing him leave the game and the way he played every night on a night-to-night basis, every practice from me being with him in Boston, just how he approached the game every single day.
“He was just like LeBron. One of the easiest guys to coach as far as being a superstar, as far as telling him what to do, they would do it. If they didn’t like what you were doing, they’d pull you out to the side and tell you. They’d never call you out in front of everybody. Just having respect for everybody from the janitor to the owner. That’s our motto. Him, Kobe [Bryant] and [Tim] Duncan at the same time is bad for the game. But we all get old. It’s all part of the game.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs.