When the Cleveland Cavaliers lost big man Andrew Bogut to a devastating injury, one option to potentially replace him was Kevin Garnett.
During the 2015-16 season with the Timberwolves, Garnett had a 3.6 plus-minus per 36 minutes. That mark was higher than veterans including Channing Frye (2.5) and a higher total plus-minus on the season (56) than Anderson Varejao (51) and Dwight Howard (19).
While his offense had declined, he was still an effective defender, which is why it was not surprising that Cleveland wanted him on their 2017 roster.
Cleveland coach Tyron Lue explained that Garnett was asked to sign with the Cavaliers earlier this season (via ESPN):
“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.'”
Here are some of the biggest reasons why we don’t think Garnett took the opportunity to play with LeBron James and the Cavs.
It probably won’t happen next year, either. But who knows? As Garnett famously screamed, “Anything is possible!”
1.) KG would prefer to play with different teammates
Lue mentioned that if the teammates were different, KG said he would be more likely to play. Garnett played alongside Cleveland assistant coach James Posey on the 2007-08 Boston Celtics, which is a team that won the NBA Championship.
Garnett also had some awkward beef while on the Celtics with current Cleveland big man Channing Frye when the Cavs’ veteran was on the Suns.
Plus, there was still some animosity regarding when Ray Allen left Boston to play with LeBron. Here is what Allen said (via ESPN):
I haven’t spoken to him since I left. I haven’t talked to him. I felt bad about the whole situation. [Considering] everything we had done their together as a team, it was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make. But for me, the writing was on the wall. I was just hoping that they understood.
Garnett had a title on his resume when he retired, which could have been one of the primary incentives to entice him to join the team.
2.) He preferred his other opportunities
At the time, Garnett was working as a consultant for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
KG also has an on-air gig with TNT — where he gets to hang out former basketball stars like Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace. Look how much fun he had while with rapper 2 Chainz.
3.) He wasn’t in playing shape to be in the NBA
It’s no surprise Garnett denied the request considering he needed extreme care taken on him before each game he played during the final seasons.
While KG had expressed interest in playing another season, he wasn’t sure that his knees would be healthy enough for more professional basketball.