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 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 (didn’t work with Randy Moss, but why stop trying?). 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 couple of simple questions:
• Could it even happen? It’s tricky, but the short answer is yes. Boston is clearly looking to rebuild, and dealing KG is a real possibility. Garnett would have to waive his no-trade clause. He also 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 salary 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 and basketball-wise — both for the Wolves and for what Boston might want — it might involve a 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 in the top 10 in minutes in NBA history.
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 still would be a valuable defensive presence and provide a certain toughness that is otherwise lacking. Earlier this week, new Wolves boss Flip Saunders — who nurtured a young Garnett — said the Wolves lacked a “rim protector.” 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.