The best statistical years of Kevin Garnett's career came, without a doubt, when he was with the Timberwolves. He put up many dominant years in a row, including his 2003-04 MVP season. By the time he was traded to the Celtics in 2007, he was 31 years old -- still plenty young to be productive, but on the back side of a career that had a lot of miles on it because of his early entry into the NBA.
In all, KG spent 12 years with the Timberwolves. When he went to the Celtics, it felt like a final stop -- a place he might spend a few good years to round out a Hall of Fame career.
What we never would have guessed is the offseason trade this past year that sent him to Brooklyn, but at least that trade now helps us define Garnett's legacy -- at least in terms of how he sees it.
Garnett played half as long with the Celtics as he did with the Wolves, but it's clear from the events of the past weekend that the emotional pull with Boston is stronger than it is -- or was -- with Minnesota.
The Celtics played host to the Nets for the first time since the trade, meaning KG and Paul Pierce were headed back to their familiar former home. You'll recall that when the Celtics came to Minnesota for the first time since the 2007 trade, KG was injured and didn't play. Perhaps that has clouded his recollection of the time, but we still found this quote interesting:
"This was by far the hardest day I've had to focus," Garnett said. "This was bigger than Minnesota, even when I went back to Minnesota."
Again, any number of things could be in play -- the freshness of this event vs. what happened seven years ago, the specific tributes at each arena, the fact that he won a ring in Boston or simply his mood on each day. But what that quote says to us is that Garnett's time in Boston holds a more revered place in his heart than his time in Minnesota.
And that while so many of us still think of him in terms of his old Wolves days, he thinks of himself more now in terms of his old Celtics days.