NBA Free Agency 2012: Power Ranking Best Contenders for Kevin Garnett to Join

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterJune 18, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: Power Ranking Best Contenders for Kevin Garnett to Join

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    Kevin Garnett may be 36 years old, but the man plays with the energy and passion of someone half his age.

    An NBA veteran of 17 years, Garnett has only called two cities home.  While he continually put up gaudy stats with the Minnesota Timberwolves and eventually won a title with the Boston Celtics, he now has the freedom to choose his next destination as he approaches free agency.

    Likely to draw interest from a number of contenders due to his defensive intensity and new-found ability to play the center position, Garnett should have his choice of teams to play for.

    Here are the top seven contenders that Garnett should sign and possibly end his Hall of Fame career with.

7. Philadelphia 76ers

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    2012-2013 Potential Lineup with Garnett:

    PG- Jrue Holiday

    SG- Evan Turner

    SF- Andre Iguodala

    PF- Kevin Garnett

    C- Spencer Hawes

    Reason to Join 76ers:

    Philly is first on the list, fresh off a seven game Eastern Conference semifinal series with Garnett's Celtics.

    The Sixers are most definitely a young team on the rise, as they've made the playoffs the past few seasons, led by a young core of guards and forwards that could really use a veteran big man better than Elton Brand.

    Garnett would be a great leader to rally around, and could start at power forward to help lessen Brand's minutes or take over the starting center job if Spencer Hawes leaves via free agency.

6. Dallas Mavericks

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    2012-2013 Potential Lineup with Garnett:

    PG- Jason Kidd/Deron Williams

    SG- Vince Carter

    SF- Shawn Marion

    PF- Dirk Nowitzki

    C- Kevin Garnett

    Reason to Join Mavericks:

    Dallas is only a year removed from a championship and still has some guy named Dirk on the roster, so they should still be a contender.

    The Mavs dropped off significantly this past year primarily due to the loss of this year's Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler.

    Garnett would bring a defensive presence to the center position that Dallas simply doesn't have anymore.  If the Mavericks can land Deron Williams in free agency, they should once again be at the top of the Western Conference.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    2012-2013 Potential Lineup with Garnett:

    PG- Ricky Rubio

    SG- Wes Johnson

    SF- Derrick Williams

    PF- Kevin Love

    C- Kevin Garnett

    Reason to Join Timberwolves:

    Five years after he was traded away from Minnesota, could KG find his way back to the land of the lakes?

    As the Wolves' franchise leader in games, points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals, Garnett would find a much improved Minnesota team than the one he left behind.

    With Rubio and Love running the show, Garnett wouldn't have to be the do-everything guy he was the first time around and could instead serve as a mentor and defensive force.

    Would the fans in the twin cities want him back? Would KG even consider returning?  I'm not sure, but Garnett on today's T-Wolves would definitely be a team to be reckoned with.

4. Chicago Bulls

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    2012-2013 Potential Lineup with Garnett:

    PG- Derrick Rose

    SG- Rip Hamilton

    SF- Luol Deng

    PF- Kevin Garnett

    C- Joakim Noah

    Reason to Join Bulls:

    Chicago finished the regular season as the Eastern Conference's top team each of the last two years before the Miami Heat and injuries to key players doomed them in the playoffs.

    Now with Rose out for the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Chicago will need a boost to help them stay afloat in the playoff race.  With Carlos Boozer disappointing last season, the Bulls could definitely use help in the post.

    A playoff core of Rose, Deng, Noah and Garnett would be the best defensive unit the NBA would have to offer, and would certainly have a great chance at a NBA title.

3. Atlanta Hawks

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    2012-2013 Potential Lineup with Garnett:

    PG- Jeff Teague

    SG- Joe Johnson

    SF- Josh Smith

    PF- Al Horford

    C- Kevin Garnett

    Reason to Join Hawks:

    Atlanta has been a nice team for a couple of years now, but hasn't been able to make it past the second round of the playoffs.

    Part of the reason for this is the Hawks' inability to find a true center.  They've been playing the undersized Al Horford at the five for too long now, as he's better suited for the power forward position.

    Landing Garnett would make a good team great and allow them to better match up against opponents.

    Trading Josh Smith wouldn't be a bad idea, either.

2. San Antonio Spurs

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    2012-2013 Potential Lineup with Garnett:

    PG- Tony Parker

    SG- Manu Ginobili

    SF- Kawhi Leonard

    PF- Duncan/Garnett

    C- Garnett/Duncan

    Reason to Join Spurs:

    Duncan and Garnett in the same paint together, duh.

    The Spurs' title window is still open, but the breeze is definitely dying down.  Adding Garnett's energy and enthusiasm would help prop it open just a little bit longer.

    With the Spurs, Garnett would definitely be in title contention and would be playing for the league's best coach in Gregg Popovich.  With so much talent around him, he wouldn't be asked to do as much and could play an extra season or two.

    Did I mention we'd get to see Duncan and Garnett in the same paint together?

1. Boston Celtics

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    2012-2013 Potential Lineup with Garnett:

    PG- Rajon Rondo

    SG- Avery Bradley

    SF- Paul Pierce

    PF- Jeff Green/Brandon Bass

    C- Kevin Garnett

    Reason to Stay With Celtics:

    While there's plenty of reasons to leave Boston, there's also a lot of reasons to stay.

    For one, the Celtics still have Rajon Rondo, which means they should be pretty dang good.  Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley will both still be under contract as well.

    The Celtics' real strength, however, lies in their cap space.  Approximately $30 million to be exact, money that could be used to sway some very enticing free agents.

    Another reason to stay would be his familiarity with the team and head coach Doc Rivers, who KG has reportedly said is the only coach he will play for.

    According to former teammate Kendrick Perkins, “I feel like if he does return to basketball, I think that that would be the team,’’ Perkins said of the Celtics. “He got a lot of love for the game and it would be hard to see Kevin walk away from the game right now.’’

    While this may or may not be the case, Garnett will certainly have some decisions to make this summer.