Garnett confirms he only accepted trade because Pierce was moved too

12 Comments

We pretty much knew this already — Kevin Garnett has said that he wanted to retire a Celtic, and they were about to go through a rebuilding process he didn’t want to be a part of, but Paul Pierce convinced him that going to Brooklyn to make one more run at it was a good thing. So he agreed to the trade (and agreed to take his $12.4 million salary for next season).

Halfway around the globe, Garnett confirmed it.

He is in China pitching his Anta shoe brand and doing the branding thing, when he did an interview. Here is a translation of the interview question of note, via Celtics Life (note KG answered this in English, it was translated to Chinese, then back to English, but I think the message is clear):

Moderator: Can you say if the transaction object is only you, no Pierce, you would choose to reject it?

Garnett: I would refuse, if I was traded away, I would choose to retire, without a doubt, I would choose a direct retired.

If he hadn’t been going to Brooklyn with Pierce, he would have retired. Well, unless the teams found a way to do that Clippers deal, but that is dead, too.

Brooklyn is interesting because of the short window with older players — they potentially could be very good but a lot of things need to go right. Garnett and Pierce need to be fully healthy, for one. Jason Kidd needs to show he can coach, for another. This is a team with a very small window and timeframe (one season, maybe two at most).

But that’s a better chance than the Celtics had this season. So he’ll take it (and the $12.4 million he makes this season, don’t leave that out of the equation).

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
3 Comments

Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

Leave a comment

The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

Leave a comment

Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

Leave a comment

In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.