SI Breaks Down Kevin Garnett's Relationship with Minnesota Timberwolves

Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated explored Kevin Garnett’s complicated relationship with the Minnesota Timberwolves in a recent piece on

“Kevin Garnett’s 2015 return to the Minnesota Timberwolves was an effort to rectify a strained relationship. The best player in franchise history had left on complicated terms after a trying, 12-year stay culminated in anger and frustration,” writes Mahoney.

“KG may never have wanted to leave Minneapolis in the first place. And while he wanted to stay on his own terms with the full clout of a superstar, it was made clear that he didn’t have much interest in playing for the kind of developing outfit the Timberwolves were looking to build.”

It’s hard to blame Garnett, of course, given that the team Minnesota built never returned to the playoffs after his departure and suffered through the infamous David Kahn era.

Mahoney makes clear what many Wolves fans already know: KG came back because of Flip.

“Flip Saunders was the only lasting bridge between Garnett and the Timberwolves. Their bond was strong enough that Saunders convinced the infamous competitor to waive his no-trade clause and return to a team with little chance of winning,” he writes.

“Theirs was an agreement made from nearly 20 years of friendship.”

The piece is well-researched and touches on all the major topics: Garnett’s love for Minnesota but dislike of the franchise’s management, the regrettable dismissal of Sam Mitchell and, of course, Saunders’ tragic death.

“Saunders passed away on October 25, 2015, taken far too early by Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” he writes. “A franchise was left in limbo.”

Perhaps the most illuminating part of the article, at least for die-hard Timberwolves fans that have followed this whole saga closely, is the old quotes Mahoney found during his research.

A couple examples:

“The more I continued to talk to Minnesota about the future… it contradicted how I saw it, or what I thought was best for making the team better,” Garnett said.


“It’s always special to come back to true fans and sort of your foundation,” Garnett said in 2012. “But as far as that franchise, I have nothing positive to say.”

The whole article is worth a read, especially given that Garnett is likely to be bought out before the season starts.

[Sports Illustrated]
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