Sid Hartman: KG signals loyalty in face of frustration

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 5, 2007 - 10:55 PM

The Timberwolves star says it is hard to walk away from the franchise, despite a history of poor decisions and the drudgery of losing night after night.

Will Timberwolves superstar Kevin Garnett ask to be traded after this season?

In an interview with Marc Stein of ESPN.com this past week, Garnett indicated strongly that he doesn't have any intention of pushing for a trade.

He told Stein: "I was telling some friends the other day, my analogy is a house. I've helped build a house or I've built a house [in Minneapolis]. It had old wood in it and I replaced it with special wood and it became a beautiful place. But now because of things aren't working right, now you ask me to move out of something that I helped build. That's hard."

Garnett continued: "People who have experienced moving, they can look at [my situation] and say it's probably an easier process [to request a trade]. But I haven't done that, so it's not as easy for me. I can't speak with the perspective of people who have [switched teams]. You hear the stories. I've got personal friends that moved from teams. But instead of replacing some of the appliances or replacing some of the pipes or replacing things in the house, you just ask me to move? That's a difficult call for me."

Garnett admitted to Stein that losing is hard on him.

"And not just how we're losing," Garnett said. "The personnel. I was crushed when we let Sammy [Cassell] go [in 2005] and Spree [Latrell Sprewell]. I felt like we didn't handle that right."

Garnett told Stein that the lack of veterans has hurt, then talk shifted to former coach Dwane Casey: "No disrespect towards Case, I enjoyed my two years with him, but when you are trying to build, when you're trying to win, you got to have ... there's a lot of good coaches out there. There's a lot of great coaches out there." Garnett told Stein that the Wolves came frustratingly close to sealing a trade for Allen Iverson, who ended up with the Nuggets. A deal was so close at one point that team owner Glen Taylor's private plan was reportedly ready to pick up Iverson in Philadelphia. "I was very excited," Garnett said. "And then at the 11th hour, things fell through."

About the future, Garnett said that there has to be some trades to strengthen the team.

"I think [head coach] Randy Wittman would echo that, so it's just not me."

You want my opinion? Garnett is going to demand some changes, and if nothing is done, he could change his mind about staying here. He is very unhappy about the results of this season.

Gardenhire likes Heintz

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has always wanted a third catcher, and said he thinks Chris Heintz fills the bill.

"He can play third, he can play a little bit of second, he can play first -- he's very versatile and he's got a good swing," said Gardenhire. "And he can come off the bench and get a hit for you.

"He came from the Pittsburgh organization. He played in the minor leagues for a long time. ... I think this is the first time he's ever made a club out of spring training, which is very exciting for him.

"I like the idea of having him, with the situation with Joe Mauer [who also is a designated hitter], just to be able to keep his bat in the lineup on that day game after a night game, where you know you're facing a tough pitcher and you'd like to have his bat in there. This gives me that opportunity without having to worry about putting both my catchers in the lineup."

Jottings

It doesn't appear that new Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith is going to keep any of the coaching staff that finished the past season. He already has hired two assistants in Ron Jirsa, whose last job was head coach at Marshall, and Saul Smith, his son. Saul was an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech last year. Tubby Smith said he has received a call from former Gophers coach Jimmy Williams about a position on the current Gopher staff but that he has not hired Williams at this point. Williams resigned this week as a member of the Oklahoma State staff. ... Draymond Green, a 6-7 junior from Saginaw, Mich., verbally committed to Kentucky but might change his mind because of Smith's move to Minnesota. Green helped Saginaw win the Michigan Class A state title and averaging 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists a game.

Even if the Wolves finish with one of the NBA's 10 worst records, they still could end up giving the Clippers their No. 1 draft choice stemming from the Marko Jaric-Cassell deal. It's not where they finish in the league, but where they end up picking that matters. If a team jumps ahead of them in the draft lottery and the Wolves end up picking 11th or lower, they forfeit the pick. If they draft 10th or higher, they keep the pick.

While the Vikings have been very quiet this offseason about their ticket sales, director of ticketing and hospitality Phil Huebner said: "We're still in the middle of our renewal process, which takes a long time due to the fact that we have over 14,000 accounts. However, we are seeing more attrition this year than we have in past years. The good news is that since February 1st, we've already sold over 2,000 new season tickets. This year, we'll give a lot of people who thought that there weren't season tickets available a chance to purchase them. So we're seeing interest there. As far as our single ticket sales, we haven't set a date, but it'll probably be the first or second week of July."

The late Herb Carneal's first game here involved a Vikings' preseason game in 1961 while he was still the baseball broadcaster with the Orioles.

The Gophers are short of wide receivers and GopherIllustrated.com reports that the football program will have a couple of visits this weekend from two late qualifiers for the 2007 class. They are: wide receiver Damien White of Culver City, Calif., who had 64 catches for 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns last season; and Taylor Strainge from Delray Beach, Fla., who also is an all-conference track star.

Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight received another honor the other day when he won the Naismith Award, given by the Atlanta Tipoff Club for his outstanding contribution to the game of basketball. Kay Yow of North Carolina State won the women's award.

The Orioles have proved that a new ballpark is fine, but if you don't win, a new stadium doesn't mean much. The Orioles drew 3,567,819 in 1992, when Camden Yards opened, and then drew more than 3 million in eight of the next nine seasons. Last season, their attendance dropped to 2,153,139.

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