Kevin Garnett Returns to Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett Returns to Minnesota Timberwolves

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  • The Minnesota Timberwolves re-acquired former franchise player Kevin Garnett in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets for forward Thaddeus Young on the NBA’s Trade Deadline on Feb. 19.

Kevin Garnett agreed to waive his no-trade clause with the Brooklyn Nets so he can be traded to his original team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, for forward Thaddeus Young.

Kevin Garnett is back with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda, Garnett waived his no-trade clause with the Brooklyn Nets in order to return to the Timberwolves, who selected him fifth overall in the 1995 NBA draft as a 19-year-old prospect out of Farragut Academy in Chicago. Minnesota sent forward Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn in exchange for Garnett.

Garnett, known as “KG,” returns to Minnesota eight years after the team traded him to the Boston Celtics for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, cash and two first-round draft choices in 2009. The 7-for-1 deal features the most number of players traded for a single player in NBA history.

Zgoda stresses Garnett’s return reunites him with head coach Flip Saunders, who called the shots for the team during KG’s first decade in the league. Garnett is also reunited with assistant coaches Sam Mitchell and Sidney Lowe. Mitchell returned to the Timberwolves as a player in 1995 to serve as Garnett’s mentor while Lowe had two stints as an assistant coach during Garnett’s 13-season tenure in Minnesota. 

The Timberwolves expect Garnett to stay with them for the duration of the 2015-16 NBA season, and perhaps the season after that, per The Minneapolis Star Tribune

During his first stint with the Timberwolves form 1995-2007, Garnett led Minnesota to eight consecutive playoff appearances. This includes a berth in the 2004 Western Conference Finals. That year was the last time, the Timberwolves made the postseason, per Zgoda.

Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio tells Zgoda he considers the oppotunity to play with Garnett “an honor”:

“He put the Minnesota Timberwolves all around the world. Even when I was in Europe and in Spain, I knew [about Minnesota] because KG was here. That means a lot. It’s an honor to play with him and have him in the locker room. I’m going to have my ears open to whatever he says. He’s a winner. I know that and I’m a winner, too.”

Prized Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins also raves about Garnett in an interview with The St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Andy Greder. Wiggins quipped,”He’s an intense guy, so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve watched how he plays, how he acts, and from what I hear, he’s a great teammate. He’s loved over here, so I’m excited to play with him.”

Zgoda considers the trade to make the Timberwolves weaker as Garnett is turning 39 years old in /4/while Young is an up-and-coming lefty forward who is just 26 years old. The main upside is Minnesota does not have to take a $10 million cap hit from Young next season. More importantly, Garnett’s work ethic and veteran savvy is expected to rub off on the Timberwolves’ young players such as Rubio, Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Anthony Bennett.

Zgoda also says Garnett could possibly be in the running to be the Timberwolves’ next owner. Glen Taylor purchased the team in 1994 and approved Garnett’s selection in the NBA draft the year after.

Garnett told Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears in Nov. 2014 about his ambition to be Minnesota’s future owner:

“I want to buy the Timberwolves. Put a group together and perhaps some day try to buy the team. That’s what I want. 

“That is the one that has my interest. I have ties there. Flip’s there.

“There are so many things that I see that I can provide to younger players. I gravitate to the guys that really, really work hard. I’m able to show them things. Help their games. To see the progress is huge.”

In order for Garnett to become Timberwolves owner, Greder says he “would need to take a minority stake or seek partners.” KG has earned an estimated $320 million over the course of his 20-year NBA career. 

Saunders responded to Garnett’s desire to become Timberwolves owner by saying he would welcome the idea of working with him in the team’s front office. Saunders adds Garnett’s competitiveness would not make him an ideal coaching candidate, per Greder. 

As for the Timberwolves, Forbes Magazine (via The St. Paul Pioneer Press) valued them at $625 million as of Jan. 2015. That would place them 29th in the 30-team NBA.

Garnett, whose three-year, $36 million contract is set to expire after the 2014-15 NBA season, is the Timberwolves’ franchise leader in points (19,041), field goals (7,575), rebounds (10,542), assists (4,146), blocks (1,576) and steals (1,282), per Greder. 

He won an NBA title with the Celtics in 2008. For his career, he has averaged 18.3 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists, per ESPN stats

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