NEW ORLEANS – Flip Saunders was not surprised. Like everybody else, Saunders —the Timberwolves coach, president of basketball operations and minority owner — saw the quotes by Kevin Garnett, the former Wolves star currently with Brooklyn, told Yahoo Sports on Thursday night that he would like to try to buy the Wolves in the future.
Shocking? Not to Saunders.
“I won’t get totally into this,” Saunders said before Friday’s game against the Pelicans. “But everybody knows the relationship Kevin has with Minnesota. He’s probably [Wolves owner] Glen Taylor’s favorite player. Everybody knows his passion. … Kevin will somehow stay involved in the game at some point. I don’t know if he can be a coach, and I don’t know if he can be a general manager. So the only other thing is to get involved in ownership. It would be great for him to stay involved with our league, no question.’’
Of course, the plausibility of such a move is a subject left for when Garnett finally decides to retire, which could come after this season. Taylor has, in the past, talked about making sure the team stays in Minnesota if he does sell.
Garnett, taken by the Wolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft, has made about $300 million in salary alone since entering the league, and that doesn’t include endorsements. As a member of the Wolves he led the team to eight consecutive playoff appearances and into the Western Conference finals in the 2003-04 season, his MVP season.
And those are ties that apparently still bind.
“That is the one that has my interest,” Garnett told Yahoo of the Wolves. “I have ties there. Flip’s there.’’
Saunders, Garnett’s former coach, said he was flattered.
“Like I said, when people talk about Minnesota, the first thing that comes to mind is KG,” Saunders said. “I mean, he was an MVP here, in Minnesota. He was an All-Pro player. He grew up from being The Kid to being The Man.
‘‘I’m sure the next banner that will be hung in [Target Center], as far as players go, will be his.’’
Saunders said having former players involved in ownership is not a bad idea.
“I don’t think there is ever a bad trend when you have owners that have passion for the game,” Saunders said. But Saunders added: “It takes a lot of money to buy a team.”
Young’s mom dies
Wolves forward Thaddeus Young wasn’t with the Wolves on Friday but he was on their minds. Young’s mother, Lulu Hall, died Thursday. Young had left the team to travel to Memphis, Tenn., to be with his mother, and was able to see her before she died. Young will remain there for the near future, which means he will miss Saturday’s game in Dallas at the least.
““Last week she took a turn for the worst,” Saunders said. “So we talked to him, told him that whenever he needed to go home he could go. Fortunately for him, he was able to get home and have a chance to talk to his mother before she passed away. Our sentiments go out to him and his family.”
Saunders said Hall had been sick for a while. “She had breast cancer a couple of years ago,” he said. “I think it just reared its head.”
Young’s teammates said they would support him any way they could.
“I just sent him a text,” Corey Brewer said after the team’s morning shootaround. “It’s tough. I know from when my dad passed. I can only imagine how he feels right now. I’m with him. I’m praying for him. All you can do is pray and be there if he needs anything.”
LaVine a top teen
When Zach LaVine got nine assists in Wednesday’s loss to Houston, he joined some pretty elite company. He became just the 12th teenager in league history — and second in Wolves history — to get nine or more assists in a game.
The others: Stephon Marbury, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Tony Parker, Dajuan Wagner, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Shaun Livingston, Sebastian Telfair, Kevin Durant, Jrue Holiday and Kyrie Irving.