Kevin Garnett returns to Minnesota nowhere near the player he was when he arrived there as a preps-to-pros phenomenon 20 seasons earlier. But if the plan he and coach Flip Saunders appear to have conjured up comes anywhere close to succeeding, the Big Ticket’s value might be about to reach a premium for the long fledgling Timberwolves.
This NBA season will almost certainly be Garnett’s last and his transition into the world of management for the Wolves once it’s a wrap appears to be just as much of a given.
“We are excited to have Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and playing for the Timberwolves,” said Saunders, the first NBA coach the league’s active leader in games (1,385) and minutes played (49,094) ever had. “When people think of the Timberwolves they think of KG. He had some great years for us and our organization.”
And if the Wolves are ever again to reach such heights it seems that Garnett will almost certainly need to do so again. Even if it’s almost certain he will be donning a uniform of a different sort.
Garnett is on record in expressing his desire to one day own the Wolves and certainly there aren’t many players in today’s NBA that you would feel safer trusting with the job of being a towering example to the young and impressionable likes of Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Anthony Bennett of what it means to be a pro’s pro.
The 38-year-old Garnett had a no-trade clause in his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, but in his mind getting an early start on what he again dreams of doing in Minnesota made it well worth waiving those rights.
The history between KG and the Timberwolves runs deep. It’s Garnett, at times almost seemingly single-handedly, who has guided the Wolves to the franchise’s only eight playoff appearances in history. And since the 15-time All-Star and 2004 league MVP left for Boston in 2007, Minnesota has yet to come close to reaching those heights again.
“There are so many things that I see that I can provide to younger players,” Garnett told Yahoo Sports in Nov. 2014 interview. “I gravitate to the guys that really work hard. I’m able to show them things. Help their games.”
And, given just who the Wolves became with Kevin Garnett no longer leading the pack, clearly they can use all the help they can get. Recently, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told reporters ideally he would like to add a minority owner to the mix and perhaps have the person fiscally capable and hoops savvy enough of being able to completely buy him out somewhere down the line.
Kevin Garnett more than fits the profile. “I have ties there,” he has often said of Minnesota. “Flips’ there.”
And it’s where Kevin Garnett’s heart is. Always has been.