Possible deals for a superstar who needs to be traded
Posted: Wednesday December 6, 2006 11:26AM; Updated: Thursday December 7, 2006 2:33PM
Dealing Kevin Garnett could accelerate the Timberwolves' rebuilding process.
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"I've never said I [was] unhappy. I don't know where y'all get that [expletive] from. None of y'all have asked me that." -- Kevin Garnett
Over the years, Kevin Garnett has proved to be a man of his word. He has never shied away from the difficult questions. He has never exhibited any form of selfishness either on (where he may be too unselfish) or off (hey, if you were offered $20 million per year, you would take it, too) the court.
He has proved to be the ultimate teammate. Unlike so many of his elite counterparts (hello, Stephon Marbury), Garnett has not had his name slandered by angry ex-teammates. Rather, Garnett has been embraced by those who have played with him -- and for good reason. A couple of years ago, when asked to pose for a Sports Illustrated cover photo, Garnett initially balked when he found out the picture wouldn't include teammates Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell (it eventually did).
He says he is not unhappy and we should believe him. But facts are facts. It's time for Kevin Garnett to move on.
Minnesota hasn't made the postseason since blowing up the successful unit that advanced to the 2004 Western Conference finals. His scoring average (21.1 entering Wednesday's game against Houston) is his lowest since 1999. He is still one of the league's most durable players (he has never missed more than six games in a season), but doesn't have the right mix of talent around him. With a few exceptions, the Timberwolves are a team of malcontents. You don't win with a team like that.
And they are not going to. As one league personnel type says, "Minnesota is one of just a few teams in this league that needs to be blown up." Over the last few years, Minnesota has managed to hemorrhage draft picks while decreasing the caliber of veteran talent. And it's visibly starting to wear on KG.
"He still has the same energy, the same fire to start the game he always has," says an Eastern Conference scout. "But by the third and fourth quarter, it's gone. You can see it in his eyes. I don't want to say he has resigned himself to losing, but you can see he knows that if that team is going to win, he is going to have to do it by himself."
Minnesota desperately needs a youth infusion, and the only way that happens is if it trades the 30-year-old Garnett. There will not be a more opportune time. Garnett may still be young by NBA standards, but there a lot of miles on those tires, the result of playing 33,153 minutes over the last 12-plus seasons.
There will be no shortage of suitors. Here's a look at a few of the front-runners:
Every New York loss moves Garnett one step closer to Chicago. Why? Because the Bulls can switch 2007 first-round picks with the Knicks, and with New York struggling, that pick very well could turn out to be Greg Oden.
Any deal with Chicago would begin with Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas and the pick (giving Minnesota two potential lottery picks in the talent-rich '07 draft). It likely also would include either Andres Nocioni or Luol Deng, plus P.J. Brown's expiring contract to make the salaries match.
SI.com's trade: Garnett ($21 million), Mark Madsen ($2.1 million), Bracey Wright ($664,000) and a 2008 first-round pick for Gordon ($3.9 million), Thomas ($3.3 million), Deng ($2.6 million), Brown ($8.6 million), Malik Allen ($1.8 million) and the Bulls' 2007 first-round pick.