Kevin Garnett won’t decide until the end of the season whether he will play any more, but team owner Glen Taylor would like for Garnett to return.
“That’s a question to ask him rather than me,” Taylor said Thursday. “Our commitment now is just that he’s here, and I think we’re going to wait until the end of this year and see if he wants to play the next year.
“Personally, I feel like if he feels healthy and strong and wants to, I would like to have him come back next year and play with this team. I just think he would be a great asset.”
The Wolves are paying Garnett around $4 million for the rest of the season, slightly more than Thaddeus Young’s remaining salary. The Wolves traded Young to Brooklyn for Garnett.
“We’re paying all of his salary. It was just a straight trade for Young for KG,” Taylor said. “[Garnett’s] salary is $12 million this year, so $150,000 a game. [Young] was getting $10 million per year, so the difference is approximately $2 million.”
Another topic that Taylor cleared up is that the Wolves are not for sale, and while there is a lot of talk about Garnett wanting to own the team in the future, Taylor can’t talk about sales involving a player. Still, all NBA team owners are awaiting the sale of the Atlanta Hawks to see what they fetch.
In the most recent Forbes NBA franchise value list, the Hawks were estimated to be worth $825 million while the Wolves were estimated at $625 million.
“I think that would be helpful just to see how that sale goes and if that, you know, if it keeps up there with the last sales that have been very favorable,” Taylor said, referencing the Bucks’ sale for $550 million and the Clippers’ sale for $2 billion.
Taylor also reiterated the story that the Wolves had been looking at Garnett for some time, though the deal wasn’t done until right before the trade deadline last week.
“We talked about it earlier this year when we did the trade of Kevin Love, but Kevin [Garnett] was under an agreement that he needed to sign on to leave Brooklyn, and our information was that he was not interested at that time,” Taylor said. “But going back about two weeks ago we made another inquiry and found out he was open to talking about it.”
Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, talked about how great it was to be at Target Center on Wednesday for Garnett’s return.
“I wasn’t surprised completely,” he said about the crowd response. “I mean, I thought it would be really wonderful, I talked to Kevin before the game and just said too him, ‘Enjoy it, this is all for you from your fans.’ I expected it to be pretty wonderful, but I was certainly pleased.”
Was it one of his favorite games as owner?
“It was different, when we were playing in the playoffs quite a few years ago, those were more important,” Taylor said. “But this was one of the most emotional wins we’ve ever had. Yes.”
As for what Taylor thought of the team’s improved play of late, he said: “That has to do with our guys getting healthy. We always knew we had a good team here. But we’ve had so many injuries that we just haven’t gotten them on the floor. Now that the players are coming back and playing together, they’ve played some outstanding basketball.
“I’m just really pleased with Flip that he is not only a good coach and a good person to put this team together, but I really appreciate his patience and his understanding of all the trouble that we’ve had this year, especially the injuries.”
Kill wants what’s best
Last week the Big Ten distributed a document titled “A Year of Readiness,” which brought up the idea of not allowing freshman student-athletes to play until their sophomore season, to get them acclimated to college before jumping into athletics. It’s an idea Commissioner Jim Delany said on ESPN this week that would have to be discussed nationally, not just within the conference.
Gophers football coach Jerry Kill said that, like most issues regarding student-athletes, there’s a lot of different questions to answer.
“I think there’s plusses and minuses. … People a lot higher than I are much more able to make those decisions, but I think from a head coach’s standpoint it’s whatever is best for the game and whatever is best for the student-athlete,” he said. “I think everyone is still trying to figure that out. There’s so many changes going on with our sport right now, and that’s just one of them.”
Kill said this next season already will be an important one when it comes to student-athletes because the five power conferences will be able to pay players a stipend for family travel and for spending money.
“The cost of attendance is going to change a lot of things there, according to what your cost of attendance is,” Kill said. “That’s one of many issues that will be looked at over this particular year. Flying parents in for official visits, a big change over college football here over the last three or four years, and it’s going to continue to change.”
• Garnett talked about sharing advice with his new teammates Wednesday: “That’s what I do. I was just trying to give the guys some insight from my perception. To show them what I was seeing, nothing different what I usually do.” … Wolves rookie guard Zach Lavine winning the All-Star dunk contest in New York was not surprising because the UCLA product had a predraft workout for the Lakers and astonished all of the scouts in attendance with a sensational vertical jump of 46 inches.
• The attendance for the Wolves-Wizards game Wednesday was announced at 19,856, a sellout that included 500 standing-room-only tickets. The Garnett news and the Wolves’ performance over the All-Star break also led to selling a little more than 400 new season tickets. Meanwhile, single-game tickets are down to less than 2,000 available for the game Saturday against the Grizzlies. The Wolves also reported an increase in ticket sales for every home game the rest of the year. The team has used all kind of price points this year to decrease ticket prices and draw fans, but there’s a good chance now that tickets will go back up to standard prices with Garnett back.
• NFL.com ran a mock draft this week and had the Vikings taking Alabama receiver Amari Cooper. The odds that Cooper, the best receiver in the draft, drops to No. 11 overall might be slim, but what a pairing that would be with Teddy Bridgewater.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org