Is Kevin Garnett headed to LA? Jalen Rose thinks so


Without any factual backing to support his thoughts, NBA analyst and former player Jalen Rose has got the rumor mill churning.

During Toronto-Brooklyn this past week, Rose expressed the belief that former Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett would ask for a buyout the Nets and join Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.

“My bold prediction: Kevin Garnett will reach a buyout with the Nets and join the Clippers,’’ Rose said.

When asked about the possibility of requesting a buyout, Garnett responded how you’d expect: political and safe.

“I haven’t really thought about the intangibles on the side. I don’t know what management is going to do,” Garnett said after Sunday’s practice (via The NY Post). “When my situation comes up, I’ll obviously give it some attention. Other than that, my attention is trying to get us on a winning streak, get us on a road where everybody’s playing together. If you have another level, go to it. I haven’t even thought about my own personal [contract situation].’’

“I haven’t thought too much of my own personal [contract situation]. When that road comes, I’ll cross it and I’ll deal with it,’’ Garnett said. “A lot of things with family situation and things, it’s not just convenient to get up and move, to change things. It’s not as convenient as it once was when I was younger. I have a lot more responsibilities and things to take into account.’’

If Garnett has internally discussed the possibility of being let out of his contract with the Nets, it would shock no one. The entire purpose of waiving his non-trade clause to get moved from Boston to Brooklyn in last years 10-player blockbuster trade was to contend for a championship alongside Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez.

“My bold prediction: Kevin Garnett will reach a buyout with the Nets and join the Clippers” – Jalen Rose

Fast forward a year later and the Nets are months removed from a second-round exit, with Pierce now in Washington, Williams, Johnson and Lopez all on the trade block and the Nets being 9th in the East at 18-28, losers of two of their last 10. Combine that with a steep decline in Garnett’s game and what was once a promising situation has turned undesirable (don’t even get me started on the coaching/front office/management issues).

Hypothetically speaking, if Garnett sought out on his deal, a reunion with Doc Rivers in LA would greatly benefit players.

By joining the Clippers (presumably at the veterans minimum as that’s the only way it would work), Garnett would latch along to a potential contender — as of now, the Clippers are third in the Western Conference.

For the Clippers, they’d stumble upon the much-needed third-best big to play behind the improving DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.

In 37 games this season, Garnett has played well below the typical standard set for the future Hall of Famer, continuing the decline seen last year, averaging 6.8 points on 44 percent shooting, 6.9 rebounds and 1.0 steal. As a starter, these are number you’d scoff at. But as a reserve.? They’re welcome, and in combination with his abilities on the defensive side of the floor (Garnett is 9th in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus among power forwards) and you’ve a definite upgrade at the position over the Glen Davis’ and Spencer Hawes’ of the world.

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  • Remember the last time the Clippers had a good reserve frontcourt? If you can’t remember, the moment was in 2012 when Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evan pestered opponents relentlessly, especially the power forward-center duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph (helped to win a playoff series). That’s the type of big this high-scoring team needs. Garnett brings the toughness, or at least the threat of it, as well as an IDGAF attitude this team has missed since parting was with Martin and Evans.

    Unlike Hawes, Garnett wouldn’t deliver the stretch big this team has coveted over since Rivers’ arrival in the summer of 2013, but his trademark mid-range jumper would allow him to play alongside either Jordan or Griffin (shooting 46% between 16 feet and the 3), as well as create another pick-and-pop option is paired in lineup with Chris Paul.

    This is all without mentioning the familiarity as Doc Rivers, the coach who helped Garnett to his lone championship, is now leading the ship in LA, both on the sidelines and behind closed doors.

    Garnett would need little time to re-adjust to Rivers’ defensive system — a plus.

    And when not on the court, Garnett could spend his possible last months as a NBA player playing mentor to the improving DeAndre Jordan in the same way Sam Cassell is with Chris Paul, a role that could benefit the Clippers for years to come if they choose to retain Jordan this summer when he enters free agency — the same could take place with Blake Griffin as he could use some tutoring to improve his below-average defensive instincts.

    It’d almost be too perfect a match (meaning it likely won’t happen because that’s now how things work with the Clippers).

    But it’s all hypothetical.

    For now? Garnett is a Net and will be a Net until his contract runs out after the season. But if the opportunity arises and the Nets agree to part ways with KG, a deal with Los Angeles could be the turning point for KG’s dwindling career and the Clippers bleak season.

    A true win-win.

    Next: Stat of the Day: Blake Griffin is KILLING from mid-range in January