Kevin Garnett on the Cavaliers bench was never really a scenario that seemed possible during his playing career. Now that the Big Ticket has moved into the basketball afterlife, Cleveland may be an interesting destination for the future hall of famer.
Garnett, and more so Garnett’s wife, have given thought to the idea of coaching – something the 40-year old essentially did in Minnesota last season.
Cavaliers coach Ty Lue, who coached Garnett as an assistant in Boston and remains a close friend, said he has spoken to the 21-year pro about joining his staff.
“I talked to him about it, I know his wife is pushing for it a lot,” Lue said after practice on September 29. “He says he’s not ready yet. He goes back, ‘I might do it, I might,’ but he’s playing back and forth. We’ll see. But I’d definitely have a spot for him if he wanted to come back and coach.”
Lue mentioned that Garnett will definitely be around the team plenty, and that he will be in attendance on October 25 when the Cavs open the season and receive their championship rings.
The coach said that he wanted to see his former pupil continue his playing career and become the first player to play in his teens and fourties. Lue also lauded Garnett as a trendsetter, as well as his coachability.
“As far telling them what to do, they’ll do it,” Lue said. “Or if they didn’t like what you were doing, they would call you to the side – they would never call you out in front of everybody – so just having respect for everybody from the janitor to the owner.
“Him, Kobe and Duncan at the same time is bad for the game, but we all get old and it’s just a part of the game.”
The idea of having Garnett, a former adversary, on the bench would not be something foreign to first-year Cavalier Mike Dunleavy Jr.
The 36-year old already played for a coach whose playing career overlapped with his own last year in Fred Hoiberg. This season, Dunleavy will be playing for another in Tyronn Lue, something that he said gives a bit of comfort.
“There’s definitely a distinct similarity amongst coaches who have played the game,” Dunleavy said. “A guy who understands the ins and outs of every day. He’s got a great feel for the game. Pretty good communicator.”
The sharp-shooter also added that his new team’s terminology is similar to some of his other stops in the association.
Dunleavy said the biggest difference in the defending champs to the other teams he has played for in his career was their work ethic.
“When it gets down to time to do work, they’re serious. These guys put the time in,” he said. “You don’t always see that with teams. I’ve been on teams where guys come and go, show up five minutes before practice, leave right after. We’ve got our best players here an hour and a half early, staying an hour and a half late. Quite honestly, that’s kind of new to me.”