KG Throws Timberwolves Under The Bus

After the Celtics won game 6 and sent the Cavs on an earlier summer vacation, Kevin Garnett was asked a few questions during his post-game press conference.

I don’t know what question was asked, but one can conclude that he was asked about LeBron’s future and what advice he could give.

Here is how KG responded;

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Semifinals

“Honestly, he’s gonna have to make a decision on not just him, but his family and his future.  Loyalty is something that hurts you at times because you can’t get youth back. I can honestly say that if I can go back and do my situation over, knowing what I know now with this organization, I’d of done it a little sooner”

*Sigh – Where to start with this?  I can feel this post going from 200 words to about 1000+.

KG was drafted No. 5 by the Wolves in 1995 straight out of high school and he latter signed the then largest deal in NBA history in 1997 for 6-years at $126 million.  KG was a 13-time All-Star, a 9-time All-NBA Team Member, a 10-time All-Defensive Team Member, Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and the 2004 NBA MVP.

Plenty of accolades.

KG’s teams were knocked out in the  first round of the playoffs in seven straight seasons and only made it past the opening round once during their deepest run, which came along side Sam Cassell and Lateral Sprewell in 2004.

Everyone knew KG was loyal to a fault and that impart pushed the Wolves front office to find him a good situation where he could complete for a championship.  As much as KG wants you to believe that loyality tied his youth to Minnesota and some very average teams, he forgets to mention that his contract also tied the hands of the Wolves.

When KG came into the league in 1995, the cap had just jumped from $15.9M a team in the 1994-95 to $23M.  The cap increased ever year and hit $49.5M in 2005-06 and is currently $57.7 this season.

During the time of his $126M contract, the league salary cap average was around $37.7M a team.  And KG averaged $21M a year; the deal was back-loaded.  So that is his prime, he got paid more, but that also meant the Wolves had little cap space to work with.

Averaged the salary cap = $37.7M.

KG average salary = $21M.

That means that KG took-up 56% of this small market team’s salary, on average.

Season Team Lg Salary
1995-96 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $1,622,000
1996-97 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $1,666,000
1997-98 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $2,109,120
1998-99 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $14,000,000
1999-00 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $16,806,300
2000-01 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $19,610,000
2001-02 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $22,400,000
2002-03 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $25,200,000
2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $28,000,000
2004-05 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $16,000,000
2005-06 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $18,000,000
2006-07 Minnesota Timberwolves NBA $21,000,000
2007-08 Boston Celtics NBA $23,750,000
2008-09 Boston Celtics NBA $24,751,934
2009-10 Boston Celtics NBA $16,400,000
  • Information from Basketball-Reference.com

KG’s highest paid season was the 2003-04 season when he earned $28M – the team reached the Western Conference Finals -  and the NBA salary cap was $43.8 Million.  His salary alone made-up 64% of Minnesota’s cap space.

Now lets look at Tim Duncan.  You can argue who is the better player, but there is no argument on who has the better resume, better legacy, and better teammates.   That is because Duncan gave them room to sign good players to good deals.  And he also set the example: sign for less and win.

Duncan is currently making $22M this season, his highest single salary of his career, but since he signed his second contract that started in 2000-01, his career average salary is $16M.  Since KG’s second contract, $20.5M.

The criticism of the Wolves during KG’s time here was the organization could not sign quality players around their franchise player.  And while there is plenty of evidence pointing to that; what exactly could the organization have done when they were locked into a contract that ate so much of their cap and sent the league into a lock-out?

When Kevin was asking the team to better its roster, why didn’t they ask him to sign a new contract of restructure?  In 2003 , KG did resign a 5-year $100M which end last season. No discount there.  This contract made him very difficult to trade.

Deep Breath.  Count to ten……….and I am back.

While I understand the need to find a villain and blame someone for the Minnesota’s inability to find its way to a championship with KG; he also needs to look in the mirror and realize that this was a two way street and both he and Wolves front office, carry the responsibility.

I have previous stated my opinions on what I think LeBron should do and I will not get in to much more.  But I will say one thing directly to LeBron – he is a frequent reader.

If you think winning will come because you put on a different uniform.  You are sadly mistaken.  You know why the old saying “the grass is always greener” is an old saying?  Because it holds a lot of truth and is applicable in many aspects of life.  Just take a step back, take some time to look at the whole picture, and don’t brush into a decision.  Make sure talk with your family and friends – they know you the best and you must do right by them.  KG was right about that.

End word count – 881.  I restrained myself.

Topics: Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves

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  • Kevin C

    I do agree with you to a certain extent that kg’s salary handcuffed the wolves. However you can’t forget about the long term contracts given to players like Hudson and Jaric. Throw in the fact that the wolves drafted horribly and you can’t blame kg for wanting out.

  • Daniel Damico

    Thanks for the comment Kevin.

    I will give you the fact that Hudson and Jaric’s contracts were bad, but they were also after KG $126M contract. And the Wolves were scrambling to sign anyone who looked like the could keep KG in MN.

    You are absolutely right about poor drafting, and don’t forget the Joe Smith situation.

  • Kevin C

    Here’s the thing Daniel. If you look at the four teams remaing in the playoffs right now they are all over the cap. And they all built their teams by trading away young talent for a proven star (Garnett, Carter Richardson, Gasol). That was a problem for the Wolves because they never had young talent. Partly because of the Joe Smith debacle you referenced and partly due to a lack of draft success. David Stern will be pushing for a hard-cap with the renewed CBA and I am all in favor of the idea. The way things are right now the only teams able to compete for the title are those that can afford to pay the luxury tax. Sorry this comment got so long. I’m just very passionate when it comes to the game and even more so about the Wolves.