Two days after the San Antonio Spurs were eliminated from the Western Conference Finals, I wrote a piece about what areas the Spurs need to look for this summer in either free agency, the draft, or their international players for team improvement. The areas were another attacking guard and fourth big man who had a perimeter shot and could play defense alongside Tim Duncan.
Two nights after I wrote that piece, I wanted to look at the available free agents this summer, and the first power forward who I saw on the list was Kevin Garnett. My first reaction was, “that would never work. Duncan and Garnett don’t get along and Garnett isn’t leaving Boston.”
But on Sunday, according to Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express News, the Spurs might be serious about making a run at Garnett to play alongside Duncan.
The Spurs will consider everything and everyone this summer when free agency begins. But one option tossed out this weekend by one in the Spurs organization is not just another name.
Garnett and Duncan are both facing some of the same offseason issues. Do they want to retire? Do they want to re-sign with their clubs or is it time to break up their “Big Three,” or is it time to find a new destination?
The expectation from the Spurs and Manu Ginobili is that Duncan will re-sign with the Spurs. Garnett, however, isn’t so sure about his future with the Celtics as they might be ready to move into rebuilding mode or at least break up their “Big Three” of he, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce.
Duncan and Garnett have been rivals since the days when Garnett was with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Duncan is most likely going to win the “greatest power forward” debate over Garnett based on amount of rings, but would both stars be ready to be to settle their differences on the court if they shared the floor together?
I think it’s possible as Duncan is seeing as one of the most humble stars in the league and his been called a great teammate by almost anyone who has played with him. Garnett sometimes lets his emotions override himself, he’s been a leader with Boston and has been coach-able under Doc Rivers.
Garnett would probably have to take less than he’s looking for in salary or maybe he and Duncan could have a conversation about settling for similar salaries that would still allow the Spurs to make a few more moves. I think that if Duncan reached out to Garnett, along with head coach Gregg Popovich, Garnett might actually have to think about this offer.
I can just imagine a conversation Duncan would use to convince Garnett. “Hey Kevin, I know we’ve had our differences playing against each other in the past, but how about we push all that aside and team up for these last two years in our careers? It’s great playing here. We run a system were we don’t have to much offensively as big men except shoot 17-foot jumpers, which I know you’re good at. I can still hold the paint down fairly well, but if you were by my side, I think it’d be really tough for anyone to get to the rim against our defense, especially Kevin Durant and LeBron James, who we each just lost to.”
I know that’s not reality, but the idea of both Garnett and Duncan teamming together is an intriguing one. The system the Spurs run is guard heavy and allows coach Popovich to manage Duncan’s minutes while also taking all the pressure off of Duncan to score for the team. The Spurs are lacking a defensive big man who can also shoot a mid range jumper and Garnett has both of those skills in his arsenal. The Spurs could still possibly re-sign Boris Diaw if he took less money and could essentially have a premiere front line of Duncan, Garnett, Diaw, and Tiago Splitter.
I know all of this seems far-fetched right now, especially considering it will take a lot for any team to convince KG from leaving Boston, but if there’s any type of chance that Duncan and Garnett could possibly play together in the near future, it will remain a possibility until either Garnett and Duncan sign an NBA contract or sign their retirement papers.
And let’s not forget, KG isn’t well liked by TD.