Kevin Garnett coming home to Minnesota was the feel-good story of the bonkers 2015 trade deadline. But now that the dust has settled, the question has to be asked: sentimental value aside, what’s the point of trading 26-year-old Thaddeus Young—whom the Wolves just traded a first-rounder for this summer—for a 38-year-old who’s years past his prime in his 20th season, whom everybody assumes is going to retire at season’s end?
The Associated Press‘ Jon Krawczynski has some insight into their long-term plans:
AP Source: The Timberwolves are not bringing KG back for just this year. They want to do a 2-year extension with him.
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) February 19, 2015
That’s unexpected. Given Garnett’s age and declining skills, it seemed like the move was just a way to build goodwill with the fans and grease the skids for the future Hall of Famer’s future role in ownership, which he reportedly wants. Apparently not.
Any extension hinges on Garnett’s desire to play beyond this year, which until today was assumed to be nonexistent. But even if he agrees to it, he’s making $12 million this season, in the final year of a three-year extension he signed with the Celtics in 2012. A new deal he signs would have to be for significantly—and I mean significantly—less than that to make sense. Garnett is a franchise legend and one of the greatest players of all time, but he is not an everyday player anymore. By the end of a hypothetical extension, he’ll be a glorified assistant coach.
Which, if that’s what he wants, is fine. Trading a young, productive player for him is still a questionable move, but all of this could just be a bridge to a future in which Garnett owns the team.