Garnett questions McHale's leadership in TV interview

Updated: November 18, 2005, 11:02 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Timberwolves' leader might be alienating himself from the rest of the pack.

In an interview televised on TNT Thursday night, Kevin Garnett questioned team vice president Kevin McHale's leadership when he took over as coach last year for the fired Flip Saunders halfway through a disappointing season, which was filled with player bickering and lackluster performances.

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Garnett also said he believed Saunders wouldn't have been fired if the Wolves' front office had settled contract squabbles with Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell before the season.

Garnett said McHale, "wanted in his heart to coach, but he didn't want the responsibility of being a coach."

After the game, in which Garnett nearly had a triple double (25 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists) in leading Minnesota past the Wizards, the Timberwolves star didn't back down from his comments.

"Kevin has a very, very high basketball IQ," Garnett told reporters after the game. "But managing egos and things, I don't think he wants to do that."

Garnett told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he didn't think he said anything wrong.

"I don't feel I was disrespectful to anybody," Garnett told the newspaper. "Everything I said, everybody knows that's how I feel. Last year, it was pure hell for me. It was a circus."

McHale said he knows Garnett was frustrated with last season, in which the Wolves failed to make the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

"I hope he wants to be here," McHale said after the game. "There's a lot of uneasiness in the changes we've made."

One of major changes was hiring Dwane Casey, and Garnett made sure to say that he thinks the coach has the team on the right track. Garnett did not express any unhappiness with being in Minnesota.

"There has been not one negative thing about KG," Casey said in response to the pregame comments. "I love the guy."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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