While there is a lot of speculation about Kevin Garnett's future with the Timberwolves — from how many more years he will play, to him potentially buying a part of the team, or maybe working as an executive within the organization — the only sure thing is that Garnett will be playing with the Wolves for the next 26 games.
"Garnett has made no commitment beyond this season," said president of basketball operations and coach Flip Saunders, "but we are hopeful of a long-term connection."
The good news is that Garnett did say his future is in Minnesota, in whatever capacity.
"Every year I like to listen to my body," he said Tuesday, when asked if he would play next year. "I've been taking care of myself since I left here, or since I started. I don't want to answer anything that's going to get me tied up in anything that I can't commit to. But I will say that I'm going to listen to my body, I'm going to talk to my family, see what my options are and then go from there. The plan is to come here and not be one or two years, but to be here invested. That's what it is. I don't have no answer for you right now."
One of the biggest reasons Garnett decided to come back to the Wolves and waive his no-trade clause was the amount of talent he sees.
"This is probably the most talent on this team since the Timberwolves have been assembled," he said. "The talent on here is endless. The potential is obviously the question mark of what it can be, but I feel they have the tools to do and be whatever they want to be for the future. I want to help with that transition. Beautiful roster, beautiful guys. I got to obviously come to practice today for the first time, seeing the talent on here, it's refreshing. Because they're guys who will listen, who will work hard."
Garnett thinks he can come in and be a presence, something most young NBA teams do not have.
"I always say the veteran is kind of a lost art in the league right now, the fact that teams are going younger, the veteran who's been in the league a long time is kind of phasing out," Garnett said. "The only way these young guys get better is through some type of leadership, some type of guidance, and I'm hoping to bring that with this roster. It's a very promising roster."
Garnett in particular spoke about the talent of point guard Ricky Rubio, who is 24, and rookie small forward Andrew Wiggins, who just turned 20.
"The potential for Wiggins and Rubio is endless," he said. "I haven't watched a lot of Timberwolves games, but I'm not a guy who's going to push myself on someone, but if they want to know anything, I'm here. I'm open ears.
"I've always been an open book to all young guys. I understand the young player, understand coming in, what you're trying to do, what you're trying to accomplish, trying to obviously establish yourself in this league. I'm trying to be what Sam Mitchell was to me [when they played together from 1995 to 2002]. … I just told him, thank you for everything."
Garnett has averaged just over 20 minutes per game the past two seasons in Brooklyn and was asked what he expects for playing time with the Wolves.
"Realistically, I'm competitive. I've always said if you can guard in this league, you can play," he said.
Garnett played 17 minutes, 40 seconds in Wednesday's 97-77 victory over the Wizards. The first thing he had to say after the game was, "That was cool." And if Wolves fans respond in the future like they did on Wednesday, there's no doubt that Garnett will be playing here for a few more years.
Wiggins best rookie
Wiggins' 18 games with 20-plus points is more than all other NBA rookies combined. Wiggins has three games of 30 or more points; the rest of the league's rookies have zero.
After scoring 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting in the Wolves' victory Wednesday, Wiggins has scored in double digits in 28 of his past 30 games and is averaging 18.7 points on 47.2 percent shooting over that stretch. He leads all rookies in scoring (15.6 points per game) and minutes played (34.7), is fourth in steals (1.1) and is fifth in rebounding (4.3). There's no question he's going to become the first Wolves player to win the Rookie of the Year award.
For those who made a big thing out of a heated conversation between Vikings vice president Rob Brzezinski and Ben Dogra, the agent for Adrian Peterson, at the NFL combine, with Dogra being quoted by CBS Sports saying that Peterson will never again play for the Vikings, the word from good authority is that Brzezinski and Dogra were seen having a casual conversation the next day.
And I will repeat what I have said many times: The Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, will pay the $12.75 million base salary Peterson is due to receive for 2015 if that's what has to happen to keep him, unless General Manager Rick Spielman can deal Peterson for equal ability.
Dallas owner Jerry Jones has made it clear the Cowboys are determined to keep free-agent running back DeMarco Murray, who rushed for a league-high 1,845 yards in 2014. And it has been reported that the Seahawks have every intention of paying Marshawn Lynch, who helped the team win one Super Bowl and come one play from repeating as champs.
• ESPN has TCU rated No. 1 in their 2015 preseason college football ratings and Ohio State No. 2. The Gophers play both this season: TCU at home on Sept. 3 and at Ohio State on Nov. 7.
• Gophers men's hockey coach Don Lucia was asked what helped lead the team to a 6-1-1 record over their past three weeks after sitting at 11-9-2 overall on Jan. 24. "Well, part of it is you get a chance to play some home games," he said. "We went through a stretch, especially in the Big Ten, where we played six of the first eight on the road. … But I think it's a couple things. We're scoring a few more goals. I think that's the big thing. [Goaltender] Adam [Wilcox] is getting back to what we expect from him. We all know how important goaltending is. Look no further than the Wild."
• Even though Duke's Tyus Jones is having one of the best freshman seasons for a point guard in college basketball, ESPN Insider Chad Ford wrote this week that the former Apple Valley star might be smart to stay in college after this season. "The scouts and GMs I've spoken with just aren't that high on him," Ford wrote about the Wooden Award finalist. "He's having a great season. He might be the best pure point guard in college basketball right now. But of all the GMs and scouts I surveyed, none of them have Jones ranked in the lottery, let alone No. 2. Some weren't sold he was a first-rounder." Jones is averaging 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game and has quickly become one of the most clutch players in the NCAA.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org