Doc thinks KG will play next season

Doc thinks KG will play next season
June 26, 2013, 10:30 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON — There are few who know Kevin Garnett as well as Doc Rivers, his coach - make that former coach - in Boston for the past six seasons.

Rivers, named coach of the Los Angeles Clippers in addition to being named the team's senior vice president of basketball operations this week, believes Garnett will return to the league for what will be a 19th season.

"I think he'll play this year for sure," Rivers said of Garnett. "That's just my gut."

Garnett has two years remaining on his contract with the Celtics, but has taken the past few offseasons to evaluate whether he wants to return to the court.

If he does, he will return to a Celtics team that may be without more than just Rivers.

The Celtics can buy out the final year of Paul Pierce's contract for $5 million instead of the $15.3 million he is due.

Still, the Celtics seem more inclined to trade him with the goal being to acquire as many assets as possible - draft picks, young players or a possible trade exception - as the team's rebuilding process picks up in earnest.

It remains to be seen if Garnett who has a no-trade clause, will be open to sticking around for Boston's rebuilding or seek a trade to a team that's closer to competing for an NBA title.

At one point in the negotiations for Rivers to go to the Clippers, Garnett's name was tossed around as possibly joining him in a trade that would have sent DeAndre Jordan to Boston.

"That was intriguing," Rivers admitted of having Garnett join him in Los Angeles, which is a short drive from Garnett's offseason home in Malibu, Calif.

It certainly caught the eye of the NBA, which ruled that Celtics and the Clippers could not engage in any trades in the 2013-2014 season out of concern that any swapping of players would be construed as a "side deal" as added compensation for Rivers being freed from his contract in Boston, to go to Los Angeles.

League rules prohibit the inclusion of players in transactions involving coaches being let out of their contracts early.

Rivers, who has communicated with Garnett via text but said he plans to see him soon, doesn't know if his former big man will try to latch on with another team.

"I hope whatever it is, it's the right thing for him," Rivers said. "He deserves that. He deserves the best of whatever it is; he is extraordinary. I just hope for him it's the right thing."