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Wolves: Taylor says Garnett likes teacher's role

  • Article by: Kent Youngblood
  • Star Tribune
  • July 17, 2007 - 11:02 PM

Last month, before the NBA draft and before Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor traveled to China, he had a talk with Kevin Garnett.

We're going to go younger, Taylor told his star, which might make it more difficult to become a title contender.

"I thought he might say, 'Well, if you're going younger, I guess I don't want to play here,' " Taylor recalled Tuesday. "But he said, 'I'd be a good teacher. Guys taught me and helped me. I'd like to do that.' "

Taylor, who returned over the weekend, talked about a range of subjects Tuesday, including the team's decision to field offers for Garnett before the June 28 NBA draft. He admitted Boston was the Wolves' most serious trading partner. And while not ruling out a Garnett trade, Taylor said the team is now focused on altering its roster in other ways.

Taylor also said he doesn't think any fence-mending is needed between Garnett and the organization.

"It concerned him," Taylor said of Garnett and the trade talk. "He said to me, 'I'd always assumed I was going to play here forever and ever.' "

Garnett could not be reached for comment.

When the Wolves report to training camp in Turkey in October, the team likely will be filled with young talent.

That group will include second-year players Randy Foye and Craig Smith, third-year player Rashad McCants and first-round draft pick Corey Brewer.

"I think Kevin is positive about this," Taylor said. "It's not in his mind that we're going to be a poor team. I think his thoughts are maybe we'll be a better team with the younger guys."

Taylor said Garnett was pleased with the deal that brought Juwan Howard to the Wolves in exchange for guard Mike James.

More changes are possible. Kevin McHale, the Wolves vice president of basketball operations, has said several times he would like to continue changing his roster via trade. Tuesday, Taylor said that process was proving more difficult than anticipated. Still, the Wolves owner hopes at least one more trade is possible.

The drafting of Brewer would appear to make veteran Trenton Hassell the player most likely to be moved.

Veteran Ricky Davis might be attractive to some teams, both for his ability to score and expiring contract. But the Wolves could gamble that Davis would be inspired by a salary drive to play his best basketball. Troy Hudson has asked for a trade, but his salary would seem to make that all but impossible.

Taylor said the team will wait to dabble in free agency -- the Wolves have both a bi-annual and midlevel exception -- until it sees how the attempts at trades work out.

But a trade of Garnett?

"Do I think it's going to happen? No," Taylor said. "Do we feel we have to do one? No. Are we willing to live with what we have, with Kevin and making some minor changes? Yes. But if a team came along, if we saw the right thing and it made sense? Maybe. But I don't see it."

Kent Youngblood • kyoungblood@startribune.com

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