Wittman plans on having Garnett around this season

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 29, 2007 - 9:59 PM

Both Corey Brewer and Chris Richard talked Friday about how much they are looking forward to playing with Kevin Garnett. Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman is hoping the same thing.

Actually, he's planning on it.

The trade rumors surrounding Garnett swirled right up to the draft Thursday. Then they paused, if only for a moment, then got started again Friday. Perhaps Golden State is in the mix. Maybe Dallas is preparing for a run. Wittman, though, is operating as though Garnett will be in a Wolves uniform come October.

"Right now, I have to as a coach," Wittman said. "That's why I'm going to summer league trying to put these guys in position as if Kevin is on the team, how I would use these guys in accordance to him."

Many saw draft day as a sort of deadline for the Wolves to make a move. Sunday could be another. Garnett's $6.75 million trade kicker would count totally against a team's 2007-08 salary cap should a trade be made after that date. It might be more difficult to trade Garnett if he carried a salary cap hit of nearly $29 million for next season.

On Thursday night, Wolves Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale said he expected Garnett to be on the team next season. Friday, Wittman said the fact that Garnett wasn't moved by draft day is proof of how much the team values him.

"He's too valuable to us to just make a deal to make a deal," Wittman said. "As I said before, I hope he is here [in October]. But those are decisions that the owner and management will look at."

All-around talent

Wittman isn't about to lock either of his two new players into rigid roles.

"Both of them are basketball players," Wittman said. "That's the thing we have to get back to. Neither one are specialists. They know how to play the game. That was evident in their careers at Florida."

That said, Wittman likes the fact that the Wolves got bigger, both in the paint and on the perimeter.

"In Chris, we have somebody who loves to hit somebody," Wittman said. "He'll rebound. He'll run and he has the ability to post up."

Brewer? Don't let his wire-thin appearance fool you. He might weigh only 185 pounds, but Wittman said Brewer bench-pressed his weight 15 times at the predraft camp in Orlando.

Speed dialing convenience

So how happy were Brewer and Richard to be reunited in Minnesota? Well, Brewer talked about how he danced in his hotel room when he heard the news.

Richard? "I'm just happy, too," he said. "I get a chance to play with one of my favorite players."

But it was Brewer who pointed out the biggest benefit.

"We have the same cell phone plan together," Brewer said. "And so it's coincidence we came to the same place. Now we can keep the same cell phone plan."

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