Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- June 26, 2013 - 1:35 PM
There is a small but vocal faction of Wolves observers convinced that somehow, some way, Kevin Garnett will wind up back playing for the franchise with which he started and starred for more than a decade.
Some of them are probably “long lost love” sentimentalists who hope all athletes with Minnesota ties someday return home again. Some of them are probably remembering that Minnesota is the place where veterans often come to finish their careers (see Favre, Brett). Some probably remember KG’s heyday and are intrigued, at least, about what the veteran has left at age 37.
We’re here to examine a few simple questions:
*Could it even happen? It’s tricky from the start, but the short answer is yes. Boston is clearly looking to rebuild
, and dealing KG is a real possibility after seeing his name come up in Clippers talks. Garnett would have to waive his no-trade clause in any deal, but he might not want to go through a rebuild at this stage of his career. But he would have to believe the Wolves were building a contender, and he would have to get over any lingering hurt feelings
after owner Glen Taylor said Garnett “tanked it" back in the day. But hey, KG has made more than $300 million
in his career on basketball alone. Maybe he would be interested in owning a piece of the Wolves at some point, and a return to play for his old team could hasten that process.
*Would it make sense? Well, the Wolves would be taking on a veteran slated to make about $12 million over each of the next two seasons. To make it work financially – both in terms of salary matches in a trade and overall cap space -- while creating roster space and adding other pieces, the only way we really imagine it happening is via some sort of sign-and-trade with restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic. So you’d be dealing a 27-year-old perhaps coming into his prime
for a 37-year-old who has played the seventh-most minutes in ABA/NBA history
. However: Garnett was basically a center for Boston last season
, so you could play him at that spot. KG doesn’t move or block shots like he used to, but he would still be a valuable defensive presence and provide a certain toughness that is otherwise lacking. Earlier this week, new Wolves boss Flip Saunders said the Wolves lacked a "rim protector."
A lineup with KG, Kevin Love, Chase Budinger (or Andrei Kirilenko), Ricky Rubio and a shooting guard obtained via the draft or free agency would be pretty nice. Much of it depends on how much you like Pekovic because having Pek, KG, Love and Derrick Williams simply doesn’t work.
*What would a reunion be like? As long as we’re talking hypotheticals, we imagine a KG return to the Wolves would be warmly received by a vast majority of fans. The Wolves won 31 games last season. That’s the most they’ve ever won in a season without Garnett on their roster
. If he could bring them back above .500 and into the playoffs, he would be a hero. Plus, you know Saunders has to have a soft spot for the player he watched come into the league as a teenager.