It is draft day for the NBA and the rumor mill is in full swing in preparation for this evening’s draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves own the number nine and number 26 overall picks in the first round and although they have been rumored to be very active in trying to move up in the draft, the price may be too steep. Instead of sacrificing a lot of current and future assets to move up for a player who likely will not be the impact type of player that the Timberwolves are searching for, why not use some of the current assets to bring in an established veteran who could be an impact player and contribute right away?
The current issues facing the Timberwolves are that the team lacks outside shooting, an athletic small forward and a rim protecting big-man; but if you look at the bigger picture, the real problem is that the team is full of young unestablished players with few veteran leaders. Since the Timberwolves have four draft picks,two in the first round and two in the second, the team is positioned to get even younger by adding four players to their already young roster if they do in fact keep all of their picks.
With the roster construction and lack of veteran leadership becoming an increasingly larger issue for a team needing to contend now in order to keep star Kevin Love happy and here long-term, a possible solution is beginning to emerge and it is staring the Timberwolves right in the face: bring back Kevin Garnett. The situation couldn’t be more suitable for a Garnett reunion in Minnesota with Boston ready to go in an all-out rebuilding mode following the departure of Doc Rivers, Boston reportedly looking to trade back into the late first round in order to acquire more rebuilding pieces and young talent and because the Timberwolves have extra draft picks,a need for veteran leadership and a player who can protect the rim. Now a lot of things would have to be worked out, such as the salary matching needed in order to bring Garnett aboard and the repair of the relationship between Garnett and owner Glen Taylor, but the deal makes sense for both clubs.
The Timberwolves are still dealing with what to do with Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko, with the player’s contacts either expiring in Pekovic’s case or pending a player option in Kirilenko’s case. By acquiring Garnett and taking on his salary, it would make it unlikely that the team would keep Pekovic, but they certainly could at the right price. If the Timberwolves acquired Garnett for the number 26 overall pick and some players to make the salaries work, the team could then package Pekovic in a sign-and-trade, if he isn’t included in the Garnett deal, for an established shooting guard like Tyreke Evans or a small forward. Again, Pekovic may be dealt in the Garnett deal, be let go or traded in a separate sign-and-trade deal, but the Timberwolves could address a lot of needs with this potential trade scenario.
Convincing Garnett to come to Minnesota won’t be easy due to the frayed relationship between himself and the organization stemming from Taylor’s comments about Garnett “tanking it” back in the day; however with friend and former coach Flip Saunders now running the front office and Garnett having a possible interest in entering as a consultant or owner after his career is over, Saunders could convince Garnett that a finale in Minnesota could be beneficial and a good end to his career.
While this may be a bit of a long shot, I do believe this deal could happen tonight if both sides can agree to the moving parts and if the Timberwolves fail to move up in the draft. A Garnett return would certainly interest fans and be a nice welcome home for one of the most beloved athletes in Minnesota sports’ history. Remember, crazier things have happened on draft night; don’t be surprised if the Timberwolves yet again grab headlines with their active draft on Thursday night.