IRVINE, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers held their third day of training camp Thursday at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center, but the real teaching of the day came in the moments before and after practice.
Kevin Garnett, who announced his retirement from the NBA after 21 seasons last week, surprised the team and showed up to work with their crop of big men.
First, one-on-one post moves against All-Star power forward Blake Griffin, with Garnett using his lanky 6-foot-11 frame and defensive savvy to bother Griffin's face-up jumper.
Special guest at practice today! 👀 pic.twitter.com/tNOSdclgjZ— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) September 29, 2016
Garnett's guidance was far more productive than anything the players could have learned in practice, and head coach Doc Rivers wasn't afraid to admit that.
"KG was phenomenal today," Rivers said of Garnett's appearance. "This morning, before practice, he had a teaching clinic that you would pay a lot of money to see. It was great. It was great for Blake and [DeAndre Jordan] and the young guys as well. It's great to have him around. He's a great teacher. We know him as a great player. I knew him as a great teacher. He'll be really good for us."
Earlier in the day, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue -- Garnett's best friend and Rivers' former assistant coach in Los Angeles and Boston -- publicly extended an offer for Garnett to join his coaching staff.
While Rivers says he believes the 15-time All-Star and 2004 MVP has the chops to be a great coach -- and still believes he can play, telling ESPN he would have welcomed him as a player on the roster last week -- he doesn't foresee Garnett accepting Lue's offer or any other.
"I don't think he wants to coach," Rivers said. "He's not that crazy. Who would ever want to do that?
"There's no way that's going to happen. I think he has a teaching future. This [situation] is as organic as it could be. I just told him to come around and figure it out. Do whatever you want. Whatever he does, I'm good with, because I do think he can have a very positive impact on us."
The effect Garnett could have on rookies still learning the nuances of the NBA is clear, but former teammate and good friend Paul Pierce actually says he thinks Garnett could have an even bigger influence on Griffin and Jordan.
"Anybody can pick up something from an all-time great," Pierce said. "[Garnett] is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. So, whenever you've got somebody that can come in and share some valuable experience, it's a plus. Unless you're already sitting on the sidelines with five championships and 15 All-Star [appearances], and stuff like that, you probably don't want to hear nothing.
"But, when you have a guy like Kevin who was the greatest at his position, when he talks, you want to listen."
Garnett's presence also gave Pierce a chance to congratulate him on a legendary career and reminisce on their time with the Boston Celtics, where the two won a championship in 2008.
"It's always good to see old friends," Pierce said. "I got a chance to congratulate him on a great career. He's been a major inspiration in this league for a long time. A lot of guys look up to him.
"He has so much to share, and it's good to see him come in here and share some of the things he knows with some of our guys. Especially with DJ and Blake. He's working with them right now. All that helps. Every little thing helps."