Source: A Garnett Reunion With Wolves Has Been Discussed
Created: 06/27/2013 9:41 AM KSTP.com
By: Darren Wolfson
After winning a championship in 2008 with Boston, Kevin Garnett proclaimed loudly, "Anything is possible!"
That mantra would be especially true if Garnett is traded back to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to league sources, Wolves president of operations Flip Saunders has had a conversation with the Celtics about Garnett.
Who initiated the talks, in whom the Celtics might have an interest on the Wolves and whether Garnett would waive his no-trade clause to come to Minnesota are unknown.
One source characterized the talks as Saunders just doing his due diligence in the event that a new contract can't be worked out with restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic.
Pekovic and Garnett are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it could be easy to see the two co-exist. But the source was adamant that Garnett was more of a contingency plan.
Garnett, 37, has two years remaining on his contract at about $12 million per. He is said to still spend some time in the Twin Cities in the offseason.
The NBA's Most Valuable Player Award with the Wolves in 2003-04, Garnett guided them to the playoffs 10 times despite having average supporting casts for a majority of those years -- some of which was his own doing.
In total, Garnett spent his first 12 years in the NBA with Minnesota. He helped the Wolves win an NBA-best 58 games in 2003-04, when they advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
Garnett and Saunders continue to maintain a close relationship. Saunders served as a consultant for Boston last year and coached Garnett for 10 seasons with the Wolves.
The elephant in the room is what Garnett thinks of Wolves owner Glen Taylor -- an unknown. In 2008, Taylor when asked about the Wolves purposely losing games to improve their draft position uttered, "It was more like, I'd say, KG tanked it."
Time can heal a lot of wounds, but that might be a bomb dropped that Garnett can't forget about.
A source also said that Garnett's long-time Boston running mate, Paul Pierce, has had his name come up at Target Center. But that would likely be in the event that Boston buys him out of his 2013-14 contract.
If they don't, Pierce will make $15 million -- a lofty sum to acquire through a trade. A Wolves scource scoffed at at the notion that they'd bring him aboard at that price, and a source close to Pierce dismissed the idea of Pierce ending up with the Wolves.
The only way this scenario seems feasible is if Pierce hits the open market and Garnett would be in place to recruit him. Standing alone, Pierce would be highly unlikely to sign with Minnesota.
Draft day notes
• Anyone who suggests they know exactly what the Wolves will do tonight is probably lying. But here's a good sense from myriad angles: they continue to have interest in trading up for Indiana two-guard Victor Oladipo. They also are said to like Kansas two-guard Ben McLemore. But moving up has historically been incredibly tough. So, if they stay at No. 9, the expected pick is Georgia two-guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lehigh combo guard C.J. McCollum or Indiana power forward Cody Zeller.
• Apparently, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, a close friend of Saunders', gave a kind report on Zeller. Zeller also tested well at the Chicago combine and looked good in his workout at Target Center.
• My hunch: the pick will be Caldwell-Pope.
• While talking with Houston, the Wolves inquired about wing Carlos Delfino. But the word from the Rockets is that coach Kevin McHale is angling hard to keep him. Houston is looking to move some salary to make a run at unrestricted free agent center Dwight Howard.
• As reported previously in this space, the Wolves would rather not pay forward Andrei Kirilenko $10 million for the 2013-14 season. Kirilenko, 32, has a player option that he'll make a decision on come Friday or Saturday.
• The Wolves have gone silent the last 48 hours, but the word from them Tuesday on a possible swap of pick No. 26 for Nets guard Marshon Brooks was that A) it wasn't imminent; and B) the Nets initiated the talks. Keep in mind, of course, every team says the other team initiated talks. There's enough national steam from respected outlets that the deal probably has a lot of legs. I just can't confirm.
• If the Wolves stay at No. 26, a decent bet is that they take a player they can stash overseas for a year or two.
• When I checked on the inevitable Pekovic qualifying offer on Wednesday, the word was it's probably coming Thursday.
• Talking with agents and league executives, Saunders wasn't lying on Monday when he said he's talked to every team. It's clear that he's being uber-aggressive.