SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Little more than a month after he retired, former Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett is back in the NBA.
He has signed a multi-year deal to be a “special NBA contributor” for TNT’s coverage and will provide commentary weekly from a customized, stand-alone set far from the network’s Atlanta studio.
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau and young star Karl-Anthony Towns can’t wait for the interplay between Garnett and the Thursday night crew featuring Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson.
“It’s such a great show and when you add Kevin into the mix, it’ll get even better,” said Thibodeau, who as a Boston assistant coached Garnett for three seasons. “It’s hard to believe it could get better, but it will. That’s sort of who Kevin is. He knows how to fit in, but he also knows how to add. He’ll add a lot to it. It’ll be very interesting.
“Those guys are all good guys. Kevin is a great fit for them. I’m looking forward to it.”
Former Wolves boss Kevin McHale, who drafted Garnett in 1995, has rejoined TNT and NBA TV, too. He announced his retirement in September after the Wolves agreed to waive him and pay him $8 million owed for this season.
Garnett taught Towns the NBA game during his rookie year last season when both were on the Wolves’ roster.
“It’s different, I was surprised,” Towns said. “I texted KG myself and told him I was surprised. I can’t wait to watch. It’s going to be must-watch TV. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to play our first game on TNT so we can have KG talk about us.”
That first Wolves appearance on TNT is Nov. 17 against Philadelphia at Target Center.
The Wolves have until 11 p.m. Monday to sign fourth-year players Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad to contract extensions. If they don’t, each will become a restricted free agent next summer but the Wolves still will have the right to match an offer they receive from another team.
Both players said Saturday they are focused on playing and will let their agent handle ongoing negotiations.
“You know, we’ll see,” said Thibodeau, who’s also the team president of basketball operations. “We’re talking to their representatives, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Good and bad
Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins worked himself to the free-throw line for 14 attempts in Wednesday’s season-opening loss at Memphis.
“I’m very pleased with that,” Thibodeau said. “That’s not an easy thing to do.”
Wiggins missed four of those, including two consecutively with 1:13 left when the Wolves trailed by a point. They never led again.
“Just got to work on it,” Wiggins said. “In the preseason, I was shooting good. Free throws, I just got to pick it up.”
• Saturday’s game against the Kings was the second NBA regular-season game played at Sacramento’s new Golden 1 Center.
“It’s an incredible building,” Thibodeau said. “It’s beautiful. They didn’t leave anything out. Aesthetically, it’s a beautiful place to watch a game.”
• Kings assistant coach Bryan Gates worked for the Wolves last season. Asked if Gates was the assistant selected to do the Saturday’s scouting report on the Wolves, Kings coach Dave Joerger said, “How did you know?”