Sid Hartman: Truth is, Garnett rumors are just that

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2007 - 10:49 PM

Only Kevin McHale knows what's really going on regarding a possible deal for the Timberwolves star, but website hearsay forces the media to report on it.

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Kevin Garnett dunks againsgt Seattle on Tuesday night.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Various websites continue to speculate on deals that could send Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett to the Lakers, Celtics, Suns or Hawks.

Nobody knows what to believe or not to believe because Kevin McHale, the Wolves vice president of basketball operations who is at the center of the trade discussions, isn't talking about it. The Internet, however, has changed how reporting is normally done. There is a lot of speculation, and the media are forced to cover it, not knowing whether it is accurate or not.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor said last week it would take a blockbuster offer for the Timberwolves to trade Garnett. And you wonder what Garnett's attitude will be if, after all of this speculation, nothing happens.

One thing McHale will talk about, however, is today's NBA draft. "This is a good, solid draft," he said. "I think there are 10, 12 really good, solid, quality players that come in with a real good upside and are NBA-ready."

Then again, McHale said there are some players who are projects and absolutely not NBA-ready.

"I think some of the project guys will go 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, probably the way it should, because there are some [NBA-] ready guys," McHale said.

McHale seemed to speak more glowingly about the quality of the players in this year's draft than he has in previous interviews.

"There's no question I would be shocked if we don't get a guy who can step in next year and play similar to what Randy [Foye] and Craig [Smith] did," McHale said. "There's some mature guys that can come in and play."

As I have said before, if Florida star Corey Brewer is available, I expect the Wolves will draft the small forward, who could step in and start next year and help make this a better team. It will be difficult to make a mistake with the Wolves picking No. 7 in this year's draft. And one reason the Wolves are considering trading Garnett is that they could acquire two additional first-round draft picks and possibly pluck three starters out of the draft.

Neshek is hot

Pat Neshek, the 26-year-old from Brooklyn Park who was acquired in the sixth round of the 2002 draft by the Twins, has a sensational 1.18 ERA, which is fourth-best in the major leagues.

The three pitchers ahead of the righthanded reliever are Kevin Cameron of San Diego (0.36 ERA), Hideki Okajima of Boston (0.95) and J.J. Putz of Seattle (0.99).

Neshek has not given up a run in 28 of his past 30 appearances. In the past 12 2/3 innings he has given up one earned run (0.66 ERA) and has 15 strikeouts.

"It's a lot different, you know, than last year," Neshek said. "I started the year up in Rochester in Triple-A and when I went into the big-league camp last year I really didn't know anybody -- nobody really knew who I was.

"You go into spring training this year and you know everybody in the clubhouse. It's a good feeling and you don't really have that -- I don't know -- that feeling where you know you don't know what's going on, kind of."

Neshek said he has been working on adding a changeup to his repertoire. "It's still not where I want it to be," he said. "I feel a lot more comfortable throwing it. I've been throwing it a lot to the lefthanded batters, so, you know, if I get a lefty out you might have seen me using it.

"The righties have always been the easiest for me, just with the way the ball moves, you know, from coming from the sidearm. The ball has a tendency to run in on righthanded hitters, and vice versa, it runs away from lefthanded hitters. That's where my strength is going to be, so you know that's why I had to add the changeup --to help get some of those lefties out."

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