At that time, Clippers coach Doc Rivers — who coached Garnett in Boston when the Celtics won a championship (ironically with current Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau as an assistant) — said he wanted Garnett to join the Clippers but that KG was intent on retiring.
“He doesn’t want to play,” Rivers told ESPN.com. “I’m sure he won’t play again. I think he realized, ‘Why am I doing this?’”
What in the world, then, was Garnett doing at Clippers practice on Thursday afternoon? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. But it certainly wasn’t a secret, since the Clippers put out on Twitter a photo of Garnett guarding Blake Griffin at practice.
The tweet called KG a “special guest” but KG doesn’t really do anything halfway. Even in the somewhat blurry photo, he looks plenty sweaty and into contesting the shot.
Special guest at practice today! pic.twitter.com/tNOSdclgjZ
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) September 29, 2016
Rivers in that ESPN piece said he planned to offer Garnett some sort of role with the Clippers. So maybe he was there testing out the waters as some sort of special assistant. But he also said this of KG’s time in Minnesota:
“It wasn’t a great ending,” Rivers said. “I’m not going to say too much about it, but once Flip passed away it threw a wrench into everything.”
Rivers said that Garnett feels “really great” and was working out as recently as a couple of weeks ago. His knee issues, Rivers believes, could be handled with the proper regimen of rest and treatment. “The sad thing is he could play another year if he wanted to,” Rivers said. “Maybe that’s why he’s retired but not retired. He loves the young guys on that Minnesota team. They’re great listeners and he loved working with them. It’s too bad it’s ending like this for him.”
Also on Thursday, a report emerged that Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue is trying to get Garnett to join the Cavs’ coaching staff. The quotes within that story are interesting, too:
“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 goes back, ‘I might do it,’ but 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.”
Lue referred to Garnett, who turned 40 in May, 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.”
So what we know from that is Garnett isn’t ready to commit to coaching and that one of his best friends thought he would play when he was 40 (Garnett’s current age).
And what we know from Rivers is that he thinks KG didn’t go out on his terms and could play this year — and had him on the court Thursday.
I could see KG doing a lot of things with his life as time goes on. But in 2016-17, the thing I could still see him doing most is playing.