NEW YORK –- As Kevin Garnett was about to start his pregame rituals Monday, he made a slight detour on his way to halfcourt.
Garnett ventured over to the Clippers bench and gave a hug to his former coach with the Celtics, Doc Rivers.
Rivers was reunited with Garnett a day after the Nets’ big man was asked by reporters if he would consider a buyout if one was offered by Brooklyn.
Garnett wasn’t comfortable with the topic and eventually ended the session with reporters when pressed further about his thoughts on a buyout. If such a scenario ever took place, the Clippers certainly would be a logical landing spot with Doc there and Garnett living in Southern California during the offseason.
But sources said Garnett, who is in the final season of his contract worth $12 million, isn’t looking for a buyout. And he pretty much said as much, citing his family and how he is “all-in here” with the Nets and teaching youngsters such as Mason Plumlee.
Garnett may not be playing for the title contender he envisioned in Brooklyn when he waived his no-trade clause to be traded here from Boston before last season.
Garnett was supposed to play at least a couple of seasons with Paul Pierce in Brooklyn with Jason Kidd as coach. Of course, much has changed since last season and the Nets’ original title designs have been altered.
But once Garnett opted to return in the summer for one more season with the Nets, the loyal veteran committed himself to Brooklyn despite the Nets losing more than he probably can stomach.
“Well, he doesn’t like losing, period,” Rivers said of Garnett before the Clippers faced the Nets. “In anything. We all know that. But he is such a pro. I know he is dealing with it in the right way. He knows where he is at in his career.
“Plumlee I think is the biggest beneficiary of having Kevin around,” Rivers continued. “I can’t imagine the tutelage and experience that Plumlee gets from Kevin every single day. Kevin is a great teacher.”
This was the first time Garnett has played against his old coach without Pierce, who now is in Washington, by his side. Garnett did not play in Los Angeles when the Nets and Clippers met in January.
With Rivers watching, the 38-year-old veteran moved past Nate Thurmond for eighth on the NBA's career rebounds list; he had 11 rebounds and six points against the Clippers.
Rivers admitted it is still strange to see Garnett on the opposing side.
“You know, I think it is weird seeing KG without me, forget Pierce,” Rivers joked when asked how odd it is to see Garnett without Pierce. “No, it is just weird seeing all of us [former Celtics without each other]. We were together for a good bit and had a lot of success together.
“We still talk and all that, but it is different when you play against those guys. It is competitive because I just know them, they always want to beat you. And vice versa. But it is for sure different.”
The return of LFrank: Former Nets head coach and assistant Lawrence Frank was back in Brooklyn for the first time as an assistant on Rivers’ bench.
Rivers was asked before the game about Frank’s departure from the organization after Kidd demoted Frank early last season.
“It was handled very smoothly if I remember correctly, right?” Rivers said when asked about Frank’s short second stint with the Nets. “We talked about it last year. We don’t bring it back up much. I am sure some guys had some wise cracks for him today on the bus [on the way to the arena] or something like that.
“But not much [talk about last year]. Lawrence and I, I have known him for so long now. That is old news for us.”