Wolves gave KG words of wisdom
Wolves management has apparently convinced Kevin Garnett to rethink his plan to test free agency.
Fearless Prediction Update Time ...
A recent visit by Wolves management to Los Angeles, where Garnett now spends his offseasons, apparently has convinced KG to rethink that plan. Until August, the expectation even in some Wolves circles had Garnett intent on exercising his right to test the market next July. That's even though Minnesota can pay him far more than any other team, and even though the teams Garnett would figure to have serious interest in, like Houston, won't have anywhere near the cap room to make him a representative offer.
One team insider, after the fearless prediction, went so far as to say: "I don't think KG has ever seen another home locker room. He just wants to check things out." Wolves owner Glen Taylor and general manager Kevin McHale must have sensed that because they soon were in L.A. to discuss the parameters of an extension package. Taylor told ESPN.com on Friday that he made a detailed presentation to Garnett's financial adviser and has maintained phone contact with Garnett this offseason to discuss the club's many roster moves.
What's unclear is how Garnett will respond. Besides the riches it can offer, Minnesota also has presented Garnett with a slew of new teammates: Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell and Michael Olowokandi, most notably. That combination could convince Garnett to sign a five-year extension before Halloween, which naturally is the Wolves' preference. Then again, even if Garnett gets the feeling during Minnesota's first few practices that the 0-for-7 playoff hex is about to be exorcised, he might still elect to hold off until the offseason so he can visit the Rockets or the Pistons or perhaps another title contender.
Taylor said he's "optimistic" Garnett will sign the extension before the season because "it would just seem to me that there are more reasons to do it than not do it." When the subject was broached earlier in the summer, Taylor added, Garnett's reaction was, "Let's see the team you put together first, and I just said to him, 'That's fair enough.'
"(Signing Garnett) is the only thing that's left to do," Taylor said. "We've done everything else we could possibly do.
"My sense is we would want to get this done before we start playing (real games). Knowing Kevin, his head is into playing ball (when the regular season starts) and that's the way it should be. If we're going to do it, let's get it done before November or let's not talk about it until (July). I'd be surprised if he didn't agree with that."
Either way, there remains little chance he'll actually leave 'Sota. As much as he's a fan of Steve Francis and Yao Ming, Garnett knows that Houston and virtually every other good team is well over the cap. Even the Spurs, who manage the salary cap as well as anyone in the league, wouldn't be able to create enough space next summer to make a maximum bid for Garnett. That means KG would either have to try to force a sign-and-trade out of Minny or take a pay cut of more than 50 percent to sign elsewhere.
Garnett certainly can afford it, after collecting all of his famed $126 million contract, but there likewise is plenty of value in the familiarity that comes with staying in a comfort zone, along with very handsome compensation from bosses who are spending far more than most teams to try to secure first-rate help. Should Garnett decide to hold off for now on the extension, that'll mean a skittish season for the franchise and its fans, but nothing Minnesota can't survive. New Jersey is freshly removed from the same situation with Jason Kidd and managed just fine.
On teammates Al Harrington and Jonathan Bender: "They are the X-factors. If they come back at a high level, we don't need any new pieces. If they don't come back and have a good year, we're going to have a rough year."
On losing front-line partner Brad Miller to Sacramento: "I actually thought the whole time he wasn't going to come back. I really prepared myself. He got a hell of a deal and he got with a hell of a team, so he has to be really happy. But I like (Scot) Pollard. He killed us in Indy last year. It's not very different from having Brad."
On Thomas as a coach: "He's a total animal. You guys wouldn't believe it. Every question I get is, 'Does he even say anything to you guys?' On the sideline he's so calm and collected, but you don't understand. He tears up the locker room. He throws chairs. He punches stuff. He gets in your face. I'm like, 'Coach, you've got to stop. You're going to hurt yourself.' "
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