NBA Free Agents 2012: 10 Teams That Should Target Kevin Garnett
The power forward of the Boston Celtics may not only have been playing to help his team win games, but also to audition for other contenders around the league. While the latter was undoubtedly significantly less important to KG, the thought may still have presented itself in the back of his mind.
KG was supposed to fall prey to old age this year. Yeah, that didn't happen. Instead, he turned it up a notch when the playoffs came rolling around and dominated the opposition early and often.
He's sure to be a popular target in free agency, so which teams should target him?
Just remember, with Kevin Garnett, anything is possible.
Not only would it give the Hawks a new and talented face (or two) in return for Smith's services, but it would also allow Atlanta to shift to a more natural lineup and pursue Kevin Garnett in free agency.
Without Smith, the Hawks would likely throw out Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams and Al Horford (a natural power forward) with a hole at center.
Garnett would be the perfect big man to replace Smith's defensive focus even if the legendary big man isn't the athlete that Smoove is.
KG was one of the primary reasons that the Boston Celtics knocked the Hawks out of the playoffs this year. Maybe he could help turn the tides in 2013.
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Kevin Garnett may not have spent his entire career with the Boston Celtics, but he plays with enough passion that Celtic green blood now flows through his veins.
The big man has always been a loyal teammate and this loyalty extends to the team he plays for. Garnett has said that he's either going to retire or return to the Celtics.
Half of Boston's core is eligible for free agency this year, but there's a good chance Ray Allen is the only one who actually leaves the team.
Sam Cassell, a former teammate and current close friend of Garnett's, had the following to say on the subject, according to The Score.
"KG is a loyal guy. I can't see him playing for anyone else except Doc at this point."
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The Brooklyn Nets' roster is currently devoid of players. That's not entirely accurate, but over half of the roster is expected to leave in free agency, so it at least seems like it.
Everything that Mikhail Prokhorov and the Nets do this summer is in an effort to retain the services of Deron Williams, the talented point guard who is constantly rumored to leave for any given team in the NBA.
Signing a great player, albeit an old one, like Kevin Garnett would go a long way toward proving to D-Will that this organization is financially committed to putting together a competitive roster.
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The Chicago Bulls need to do everything possible to stay in contention during the regular season so that they can compete for a championship when Derrick Rose returns from his brutally-timed ACL injury.
Rotoworld has reported that Gar Forman is remaining optimistic that Rose will indeed return at some point during the 2012-13 season, even if that date doesn't come until after the calendars flip back to January.
One way to stay competitive would be to get rid of Carlos Boozer and sign Kevin Garnett.
Just look at the stat comparison (via Basketball-Reference.com) for the two power forwards:
|Boozer (regular season)||15.0||8.5||1.9||1.0||0.4||19.7|
|Garnett (regular season)||15.2||8.2||2.9||0.9||1.0||20.4|
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Can you imagine the frontcourt in Dallas if Kevin Garnett signed with the Dallas Mavericks?
The Mavericks would be throwing out two of the greatest big men to ever lace up their sneakers on the NBA court each and every game. Dirk Nowitzki's offensive excellence would balance perfectly with the underrated offense and ridiculous defense of KG.
No one would be able to stop the combination of those two, although it would leave the backcourt significantly weaker.
I highly doubt that the Mavs would be able to sign both KG and Deron Williams, which means they'd have to find more of a bargain at point guard. If that's Steve Nash, the problem is solved. If it's not, they could be searching for a value and that could hinder their championship chances.
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So far, the Denver Nuggets only have a fraction of their total spending power committed to the players on the roster, which means they have money to burn when the free agency period rolls around.
The Nuggets are already contenders in the Western Conference and should be even better than they were this season after taking the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Once the younger players continue to develop and the chemistry between teammates is strengthened, this could be a truly dangerous team.
Adding Kevin Garnett would just make it all the more deadly, both in the short term and the long term.
KG would be able to help the young Nuggets compete for a championship immediately while mentoring JaVale McGee and making him a better player for the future.
Los Angeles Lakers
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When asked about where Kevin Garnett could end up, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith suggested the following:
"Me personally, if I’m Kobe Bryant, and I know I’m staying in L.A. I’m making a call to KG."
However, the only way that such a move would work out was if Pau Gasol was shipped out of Los Angeles.
We're now bordering on a extremely hypothetical situation, but imagine if Gasol was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith and KG was signed by Mitch Kupchak.
L.A. could have a starting lineup of a point guard to be named, Kobe, Smoove, KG and Andrew Bynum. That would have to be one of the greatest defensive teams in NBA history and would immediately thrust Kobe back into contention for his much-desired sixth ring.
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Stephen A. Smith provided one more noteworthy quote during his appearance on The Big Show.
Asked about possible destinations for Kevin Garnett next season, the well-connected Smith said a couple of candidates for the Orlando Magic’s general manager job have told Orlando “what you need to do is break the bank a little bit and sign KG to a two-year deal, even it is for about $20 million.”
If Dwight Howard does indeed leave to find greener pastures, then it's hard to think of a much better replacement in the paint than Garnett.
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It's possible that the Philadelphia 76ers go from one of the softest centers in the league to one of the toughest.
Spencer Hawes, who would rather facilitate from the perimeter and hit jumpers than bang around in the paint, is poised to leave in free agency. Kevin Garnett is basically the polar opposite of Hawes and he'd fit in quite well with a tough, defensively-oriented Philadelphia squad.
The Sixers may also amnesthitize (this isn't actually a word, but can we please make it one?) Elton Brand, which would create an even bigger void down low.
Just like Hawes, Garnett can space out the court and make things happen with his passing skills. However, unlike Hawes, Garnett can play elite defense and crash the boards with ferocity.
San Antonio Spurs
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Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News broke the rumor that Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett might actually play together during the 2012-13 season despite the animosity between the two great power forwards:
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.
Don’t know him?
He’s better known in San Antonio as Tim Duncan’s evil twin.
As unlikely as this pairing may seem, it would keep the Spurs alive and in championship contention for at least one more year. How often would you have two top-20 players of all time in the same frontcourt?
Despite their mutual struggles with Father Time, Duncan and Garnett would complement each other perfectly and make the San Antonio paint an area that absolutely no one would want to enter.