Tyronn Lue extends invitation to Kevin Garnett about joining Cavs' coaching staff

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Friday, September 30, 2016

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- "The Kid" has an open post-retirement invitation to pursue coaching in The Land.

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said that Kevin Garnett, who retired from the Minnesota Timberwolves after 21 seasons last week, is welcome to join his coaching staff.

"I talked to him about it," Lue said after Cavs practice Thursday. "I know his wife is pushing for it a lot. 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."

Earlier this month, Lue told TMZ that Allen Iverson, recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, could "come coach with me." While the Iverson invitation was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, Garnett is a more realistic candidate.

"He's one of my best friends," Lue said of Garnett.

Lue, who was an assistant coach on the Boston Celtics when Garnett played there, stopped a fight from happening between Garnett and Carmelo Anthony after a game against the New York Knicks in 2013.

Lue, 39, was rooting for the 40-year-old Garnett to play a 22nd and final season in Minnesota this year.

"Didn't want to see him do it," Lue said of Garnett's retirement. "I thought he would've been the first player in NBA history to play in his teens, 20s, 30s and 40s. He just turned 40 in May. I just thought that would've been great for him."

Garnett was a 15-time All-Star, was named league MVP in 2004 and won a championship with the Celtics in 2008. He finished his career ranked third in all-time minutes, fifth in games played, ninth in total rebounds, 11th in made field goals, 16th in steals and 17th in blocked shots.

"Just seeing him go, just seeing what he brought to the game coming out of high school, all the guys that tried to mimic him, the things he did with the powder first and having his boys in the commercials first," Lue continued. "Everything he's done, he's been a trendsetter. 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 [James].

"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 call 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."

L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who was the coach in Boston when Garnett played there and Lue was on the staff, told ESPN that he would have welcomed him as a player in L.A. this season.

Rivers also said he's alreadythinking up ways to bring him into the fold with the Clippers, especially with Garnett owning a home in Malibu, California.

"I'm going to offer him something," Rivers said earlier this month. "I don't want to say too much right now. I just know he'd be a great asset to any team."

Garnett was at Clippers practice on Thursday.

"KG was phenomenal today," Rivers said about Garnett's appearance Thursday. "This morning, before practice, he had a teaching clinic that you would pay a lot of money to see. It was great. It was great for Blake [Griffin] and [DeAndre Jordan] and the young guys as well. It's great to have him around. He's a great teacher. We know him as a great player. I knew him as a great teacher. He'll be really good for us."

When asked if Garnett had a future in the NBA as a coach, Rivers wasn't sure of Garnett's level of interest.

"I don't know think he wants to coach. He's not that crazy," Rivers said. "Who would ever want to do that?"

Lue already has a full coaching staff, with the Cavs announcing this week Larry Drew's promotion to associate head coach as well as the re-signing of Jim Boylan,Mike Longabardi, James Posey and Damon Jonesas assistants. However, Garnett always could serve in an unofficial capacity or simply spend time visiting with the team, as he plans to do when the Cavs host the Knicks and receive their championship rings on Oct. 25.

"He'll be here for sure," Lue said. "I know he's coming to opening night to the rings ceremony. I know he'll be here for that, and he says he'll be around a lot. We'll see."

Information from ESPN.com's Jovan Buha was used in this report.