Sid Hartman, June 21: KG traded? Taylor says don't bet on it

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 25, 2007 - 5:35 PM

The Timberwolves owner said only a fabulous deal would persuade him to part with his star, and what the team has been offered so far hasn't come close.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor made it clear that a blockbuster trade offer would be the only type he would listen to for All-Star forward Kevin Garnett.

And even then, the chances are nothing would happen, Taylor said.

"I've talked to Kevin and he is very happy staying here with us," Taylor said. "He was excited about the acquisition of Juwan Howard [in the Mike James trade with Houston]."

Taylor verified that Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge called Wolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale to find out if Garnett was available.

"We're going to listen to any offer," Taylor said. "It would just have to be an exceptional deal for us. "I mean you're right, the odds are just extremely high [Garnett will remain with the Wolves]. I don't know what kind of a deal it would be, but it would have to be something. ... You know it isn't likely that we're going to get the No. 1 or No. 2 draft [pick] because of where they went. [The deal would have to be] something like that, but that's not going to happen. I can tell you nobody's come close.

"You know Kevin's preference is that he stays here. So it isn't like he's out looking for a trade and it isn't like we're looking for a trade."

Taylor said he had no comment about a report on ESPN.com quoting Garnett's agent, Andy Miller, that Garnett wouldn't agree to go to Boston and that Garnett might name teams he would go to in two days.

If you listened to Taylor, you too would be convinced there is zero chance that Garnett will be traded.

No land deal

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat, who has been the spokesman for the county in its negotiations to buy the land where the Twins ballpark will be built, said talks have broken off with Texas-based Hines Interests Inc. in trying to settle on a reasonable price for the land so it won't have to go to condemnation.

The condemnation hearing will be held Monday, and a source close to the situation said he expected Hines to ask for a price of more than $50 million for the land, which has been appraised by Hennepin County at $13.75 million.

"I thought we were having some good discussions with them last week, but ... our position is that they remain unreasonable," Opat said. "They want many times more for the land than their tax value and that we think it's worth, and the public will get to see just how unreasonable they are next week when the hearing begins.

"We remain open to a reasonable agreement, but they are not being reasonable at this point, and it's really a waste of our time to sit down and hear that they want an amount of money that would force us to gut all the infrastructure and street lights and bridges and things around the ballpark. We're not going to agree to that willingly."

Vikings quit vs. Giants

Former Vikings safety Robert Griffith, who is a free agent after being with the Cardinals last season, spoke to SI.com this week and said a number of Vikings quit in that 41-0 loss against the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game at the end of the 2000 season.

"It might have been me and a couple of other guys who didn't and that's it," Griffith said. "It was so frustrating, because it wasn't like [the Giants] did anything we didn't practice for."

On the subject of his former teammate Randy Moss, Griffith told SI.com he believes the receiver will have a great year for the Patriots. "He's going to be on a team that is going to win and will have the national spotlight -- those are two big things for Randy," Griffith said. "I'm not sure you will see Randy of 1998, but I think you'll see 15 touchdowns."

Jottings

The Twins have insurance covering career-ending injuries on all their top players, including catcher Joe Mauer.

Thomas Vanek, the former Gopher who has become a big star for the Buffalo Sabres team that went to the Eastern Conference finals, said he will be a restricted free agent this season and a free agent the following year, putting him in a good position to get a big contract. ... Ex-Gophers defenseman Mike Vannelli, who would be a good addition for any NHL team, said he is talking to Atlanta and some other teams but hasn't made a decision.

Al Nolen Jr., the Minneapolis Henry guard signed by former Gophers basketball coach Dan Monson's staff, is in school and has been working out with the other players. Tubby Smith's staff does not expect to bring in any new recruits for the 2007-2008 season. ... Gophers booster Dick Ames had Smith and former Gophers coach Clem Haskins speaking at the Somerby golf course in Byron, Minn., on Thursday for a fund raiser for the YMCA.

Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi and football coach Tim Brewster will attend the funeral of Indiana football coach Terry Hoeppner. Maturi was the athletic director at Miami of Ohio when the late Randy Walker coached the team to a 10-1 record in 1998, losing only to Marshall, before Walker left Miami to coach at Northwestern. Maturi promoted Hoeppner to head coach in 1999 after Walker left. In 2003, current Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the RedHawks to a 13-1 record and the Mid-American Conference championship. Maturi was close to Hoeppner and Walker and had nothing but respect for two coaches who died too young.

After his Azovmash team won the Ukraine Super League playoffs, former North High and Connecticut point guard Khalid El-Amin was named the best guard in the Super League and the Super League MVP. ... Jon Schemmel, son of former Gophers associate athletic director Jeff, who is now athletic director San Diego State, was released by the Mets after spring training but signed by the San Diego Padres. He was assigned to Fort Wayne, Ind., their lower Class A team, where the second baseman led the team in on-base percentage and was just called up to their high Class A team in Lake Elsinore, Calif. His brother, Justin, is working as an intern in the compliance office of the Gophers athletic department.

If former Eden Prairie defensive tackle Walker Ashley, who has left Southern California twice, decides to enroll at Minnesota, he would have to sit out a year as a transfer student. USC coaches were thinking of making him into an offensive lineman before he left.

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