Garnett still major influence on former teammates Perkins, Davis

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Garnett still major influence on former teammates Perkins, Davis

ORLANDO, Fla. Throughout Kevin Garnett's career, he has made himself an available fountain of wisdom for any young big thirsting for knowledge on how to play the game the right way.

This week brought him face-to-face with a couple of his "young (Luke) Skywalkers" who are no longer with the Celtics - Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins and Orlando's Glen Davis.

Both are with teams that look to them for leadership, the kind of leadership that each has often said was taught to them in part by Garnett via his word and his actions.

After Boston's 116-110 win over the Magic on Sunday, Garnett acknowledged that he speaks with both players every week to week and a half.

"They are still my young guys," Garnett said. "I always consider them my young Skywalkers, my young Jedi's so to speak. They are in new places and may have new identities but have the same work ethic, new personnel, new responsibilities. I always preach to them this is growth."

That growth has Davis, whose maturity was at times an issue in Boston, now in a position of leadership as one of the Orlando Magic's co-captains.

"When you're in a young environment and a new organization where they are expecting things out of a winner, you have to bring that and that's the consistency and discipline of being a professional," Garnett said. "You don't get to pick and choose when you want to be. It's a way of life. I like to always promote that, preach that to them. It's important for them to understand that."

Following Orlando's loss to Boston on Sunday, few took it harder than Davis who had 15 points and seven rebounds but missed nine of his 12 shots from the field.

Davis was particularly critical of his play down the stretch in which the Celtics scored eight of the final 10 points in overtime. During that stretch, the Magic missed seven of their eight shot attempts which included a pair of misses by Davis.

"At that time the leader is supposed to step up," Davis said. "Jameer (Nelson) and everybody else did a good job. I was nowhere to be found tonight. You're not going to make every shot; at crunch time you've got to do something. I didn't do anything."

Davis added, "I let my team down. They played extremely hard. This is on me I think. I don't care what anybody says. It could be played here but if I come to play we'd beat them."

The disappointment that Davis speaks of is what most leaders have to deal with on a regular basis.

"He's in sort of a new situation, and I know it's going to be frustrating moments (for Davis)," Garnett said. "But I tell him, 'you don't get a day off. You have to be the example, and it's not by what you say but what you do.' And in days you don't want to do it, you have to come in here and do it anyway. Days when you having a trashy day from family and every other type of distraction off the court, gotta put it to the side, come in here and focus in and do your job."

Which is exactly what Garnett has done throughout his career, which includes solid performances in wins over Perkins' Oklahoma City team on Friday and Davis' Orlando club Sunday night.

"Those are my young brothers," Garnett added. "Although we have to play one another, I root for them. That's just the relationship we'll probably always have.

Said Perkins: "At the end of the day, it's a lot of love and respect on both ends."

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.