Garnett and Paul Pierce were supposed to face Rivers on Nov. 16 in Los Angeles, but both sat out because of injury.
“Again, that’s the guy they won a championship with,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said Wednesday. “They have a lot of respect for [him]. He’s a very good coach. There will probably be some emotion. Probably being in a different uniform takes a little bit away, but still the tie of being able to win that championship and play for a good coach like that [makes it emotional].”
“I think they’ll enjoy it,” shooting guard Joe Johnson said. “We’re riding a two-game win streak, so I’m sure they'll be eager to try and defeat him, but I’m sure it’ll be a great moment for those guys to kind of reunite and connect and get a chance to shake his hand and dap him before the game. It’s a guy they spent a lot of years with, won a championship with. So I’m sure they're eager to see him.”
Johnson has faced his former coaches, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson, in the past, so he understands what it’s like.
“Nah, it’s not strange,” Johnson said. “It’s like an old friend that you haven’t seen in a while and you look forward to seeing him, just dapping him up, because for a lot of guys, especially me, my career basically started with D’Antoni and then when I got to Atlanta with Mike Woodson, you know then that’s when I turned into an All-Star.
“Those two guys I’ll never forget them. They’ll always be great friends of mine. I can kind of understand what KG and Paul are gonna face tomorrow when they see Doc.”
Kidd attended a two-day coaches clinic over the summer and learned from Rivers.
Asked what he learned, Kidd responded, “I’d have to go back and look at my notes because it’s been awhile. But Doc is one of the top coaches in this league, and so I have a lot of respect for the things that he’s done. He’s also won a championship. So being a player and having success as a coach is hopefully something I can do. I understand Doc’s work ethic and everything and I respect him.”