Timberwolves

The Complicated Relationship Between KG and the Wolves

Photo Credit: David Butler II (USA TODAY Sports)

Over the weekend, former Minnesota Timberwolves legend Kevin Garnett was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

As you know, the topic is kind of an awkward one. It would be great if we could claim him as a Timberwolves legend. Or if he wanted to be claimed as so. But with KG’s relationship with Glen Taylor, the situation is kind of weird all around.

For example, KG played only six seasons with the Boston Celtics, compared to 14 in Minnesota. But the Celtics retired his jersey before the Timberwolves have.

I’ll never forget when Garnett was traded back to the Wolves in 2015. We learned the morning of the trade that something was going to be happening internally with the team. We were instructed to prep all of our content to announce the deal later that afternoon. Well, we prepped the content and saved it on the back-end of the website. The problem, however, was that our mobile app picked up those drafts as live and published pieces. So suddenly, before most anyone knew about the deal, we had about 10-12 articles/galleries/videos on our site about KG.

In a true panic move, we published 15-20 complete BS articles to push the KG content off our mobile app. I’m almost positive I had to walk to Target to get a new shirt after. I looked like someone popped water balloons on my back and underneath both arms.

Nobody ever said anything about the content being published after the fact, so I guess we did an OK job covering our tracks.

KG’s first game against the Washington Wizards at Target Center is a game that I’ll always have in my vault of sports memories. For a team that was incredibly bad during my previous time there, seeing fans excited at Target Center was reserved normally for Lynx season.

For that night, though, it had the energy of a Game 7 and the emotions of a franchise great returning home.

Unfortunately, that was the only time we really felt that with KG on the team again. Even then, the relationship with Garnett and the Wolves was so weird. It wasn’t uncommon for the team’s PR team to tell us certain things we could or couldn’t write, but when it came to KG, it felt like everything was off-limits. We could never be too positive about Garnett, it seemed. This isn’t a knock on the PR team, this is pretty common practice for teams, but it always felt like there was a power from above dictating the KG content.

When Garnett retired in 2016, it was a complete surprise to everyone on the team. There were some rumblings that his always-on-fire relationship with Glen Taylor without Flip Saunders there to advocate for him had led to a KG being forced to retire rather than letting the legend decide for himself.

My guess is that KG would have wanted the final season tour that many NBA legends get. Whether it was his decision or not, that’s still a shame to me.

When we put content together for KG’s retirement, we had to wait for an article to go through multiple departments. That’s not always uncommon, but the end result made what was supposed to be a celebratory piece of journalism into a cold press-release-like story.

When people ask why there is such a disconnect between Garnett and the Wolves, it’s pretty easy to explain:

The fans love KG.

KG loves the fans.

Glen Taylor constantly disrespects KG.

KG takes that EXTREMELY personally because, for more than a decade, he literally was Timberwolves Basketball.

KG says something to the media about that lack of respect.

The cycle continues.

With new ownership, the hope is that we’re able to turn the page. Maybe Garnett becomes a minority owner of sorts, something that he’s wanted for years. Building a championship team is hard, but somehow, the Timberwolves have made it seem like repairing the relationship with the best player in franchise history is even harder.

Speaking Of Complicated Legacies

Former Lynx wing Seimone Augustus announced her retirement over the weekend. In the same announcement, they said Augustus had accepted a job as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Sparks.

Augustus played with the Lynx for 14 seasons before playing with the Sparks last season.

Why?

Maybe the relationship between Augustus and Cheryl Reeve deteriorated over the years. Maybe she wanted more money. Maybe it was some sort of combination.

But from a storybook perspective, it’s always a shame when a Hall of Famer can’t finish their career with a team. Especially in a scenario like Augustus’ where she didn’t have much in the tank when she decided to sign with Minnesota’s biggest rival.

My guess: The franchise won’t wait nearly as long to celebrate Augustus’ career as it did with Garnett.

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