Wolves contact Bobcats to reshape Garnett trade talks

Updated: June 28, 2007, 7:35 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com

The Minnesota Timberwolves' attempts to trade Kevin Garnett continued Thursday afternoon.

The Wolves have contacted the Charlotte Bobcats to try to help facilitate a deal for Garnett, one day after a potential three-way deal with the Phoenix Suns and the Atlanta Hawks hit a roadblock.

According to sources, the Wolves are asking the Bobcats to give up the No. 8 pick along with an undisclosed player. In the proposed deal, Garnett would go to Phoenix, and the Suns would send Amare Stoudemire to Charlotte. The Bobcats would also be required to take Suns guard Marcus Banks.

However, the Suns aren't the only players for KG. The Golden State Warriors are also making a pitch in a three way deal that would send Jason Richardson and others to Charlotte and KG to Golden State. And, sources say that the Bobcats themselves are pondering a straight deal between the Bobcats and Wolves. Michael Jordan is a big fan of Garnett and wants to turn the Bobcats into a contender right away.

The Bobcats have been offering the No. 8 pick to various teams for weeks and have several offers. If they can't get something worked out with Minnesota and Phoenix before the draft, the Bobcats will likely move the pick in another deal, a source said.

However, a source in Phoenix continues to maintain that the team has not had any conversations about trading Stoudemire.

This is just the latest turn in what has been an increasingly bizarre saga of Garnett, who was until recently considered untouchable.

ESPN.com first reported on June 18 that Minnesota GM Kevin McHale was finally listening to trade offers for Garnett and was talking to the Boston Celtics. Shortly after that, Garnett's agent said Garnett would opt out of his contract if he were traded to Boston.

In the last few days, the Lakers got into the picture, trying to work a four-way trade and then a direct deal with the Wolves for Garnett.

When that fell through, Minnesota began looking to acquire Atlanta's No. 3 and No. 11 picks in Thursday's draft along with several cap-friendly contracts from the Hawks and Phoenix Suns. To participate, Atlanta wanted Stoudemire from Phoenix.

On Wednesday, sources say one of the Hawks owners vetoed a hypothetical deal for Stoudemire for financial reasons.

However, late Wednesday night the Wolves were trying to resurrect the deal in a way that would overcome the objections. The sticking point has been a trade kicker in Garnett's contract. The Wolves were talking to a fourth team that could help alleviate the financial burden on Atlanta and Phoenix.

"All I can tell you is we're talking to a lot of people," Hawks general manager Billy Knight said Wednesday afternoon, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I can't say that anything is imminent or even likely to take place. Right now, we have the No. 3 and No. 11 picks and that's all we have.

"We feel good about what we could do if we draft at No. 3 and then again at No. 11. But we are talking ... we're talking about a lot of different things, and we're going to continue to do so up until the draft begins."

The Suns claim to have never had any direct contact with the Hawks about a deal. While they have shown strong interest in acquiring Garnett, the deal never reached a stage where they were asked by either team to give up Stoudemire and never offered him in a trade.

While teams like the Lakers and Suns will continue to pursue Garnett, and the Wolves seem intent on trading him, sources say that it's unlikely, but not impossible, that a deal goes down by the time of the draft.

The latest drama in the Garnett saga shows some of the perils of dealing with the Hawks -- arguably the most dysfunctional franchise in the league.

The Hawks ownership group, Atlanta Spirit LLC, is embroiled in a nasty lawsuit with former partner Steve Belkin. Belkin won a lawsuit against Atlanta Spirit LLC last summer and a judge ruled that he could buy out the owners of Atlanta Spirit and gain full ownership of the team. Atlanta Spirit is currently appealing the ruling.

In the meantime, Belkin holds some authority over the team. He can veto any trade or free agent signing that takes the team above the NBA salary cap. Several sources suggested that it was Belkin who vetoed the trade.

This fiasco isn't the only situation the Hawks are dealing with. Sources said that Knight is in a dispute with some of the Hawks owners over who to take at No. 3. Knight prefers Florida's Al Horford. Some in the Hawks ownership, including influential owner Michael Gearon Jr., want to draft Yi Jianlian out of China.

Chad Ford covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

ALSO SEE