Lue spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics (2011-13) during Garnett's tenure with that franchise and thought he could entice his close friend to return.
Garnett, an analyst for TNT and NBA TV who was working as a consultant with the Milwaukee Bucks, turned down Lue's offer to join the Cavaliers and come off the bench. Lue's pitch came on the heels of a season-ending injury to Andrew Bogut.
"I was like, 'Man, you should come back and play for me.' He was like, 'Man, you all have a lot going on over there,'" Lue said. "That was before we hit our stride like we're playing well now. He was like, 'If you and [James] Posey were still playing, I would come.' But he said, 'But y'all are coaching and y'all are going through what you're going through.' He said, 'Ah, I'm going to sit this one out.' I said, 'OK. We'll call you next year.'"
He was a 15-time All-Star and league MVP in 2004.