BOSTON – Kevin Garnett has been retired from the NBA for just over one week, yet the future Hall of Fame forward can’t keep himself away from a hardwood.
The former Celtic wasted no time in getting reacquainted with some familiar faces in Los Angeles this week, as he spent multiple days in Clippers training camp with both Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers.
Garnett spent much of the twilight of his career brushing off any suggestions that he’d pursue a career in coaching once his playing days reached an end, but he’s already emerged as a hot commodity on that front. Rivers told reporters that Garnett is welcome around as long as he’d like and would love for it to be an official capacity. Meanwhile, Tyronn Lue, the head coach of the defending champion Cavaliers, declared he has an assistant spot open for him in Cleveland if he wants it.
Whatever path Garnett elects to take, he’s already earning rave reviews from some of the Clippers big men for the knowledge he’s passed along in just the past couple days alone.
“He’s so passionate about this game,” DeAndre Jordan told the Los Angeles Times last week. “He just retired last week and he’s in the gym helping us out. A lot of guys would be hanging out and relaxing, but he’s got a full-blown sweat before practice — whether he goes lifting [weights] with us or shooting after [practice] with us. You’ve really got to take that and bottle it up as much as possible. I’m going to do just that…His energy rubs off on a lot of people. We’re really fortunate to have him.”
With 21 years of NBA experience at his disposal, Garnett could be a major asset to the Clippers in what could be a make or break season for the franchise. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick are all likely to become free agents in the offseason, enhancing the sense of urgency for a franchise that has not made it out of the second round of the playoffs with Doc Rivers at the helm.
If Garnett can push the bigs like Griffin and Jordan to another level, they could stand out as the biggest obstacle for the Warriors in the Western Conference, along with the Spurs.
Rivers is going to give him Garnett plenty of time to make an official decision it seems, but Jordan is one guy who will be making a stronger push to see more of his childhood idol.
“I hope he’s here permanent,” Jordan said. “I’m going to do whatever I can do to make that happen.”
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.