Kevin Garnett was as bad-ass, as vocal, as hard on teammates in practice as any player ever to lace them up in the NBA. Garnett went all-out all the time and expected the same from his teammates — and if they didn’t live up to his standards they heard about it in profanity-heavy tirades.
And KG thinks Jimmy Butler‘s practice tantrum from Tuesday crossed a line he would not have. It’s not just that Butler requested a trade (something KG never did) or what Butler said, but how the entire soap opera is playing out in public.
Garnett, the future Hall of Famer, spoke with Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
“You don’t think that I went crazy sometimes? Man, I was a damn Tasmanian devil,” Garnett told The Athletic in a phone interview. “I would say s— at (Kevin) McHale. I would say s— at Flip (Saunders). But it was all to motivate all of us. We had a big game against Chicago and I’m just raising the level to what I’m expecting the next day to be like.
“What’s really the s— storm is that can’t nobody keep s— in practice,” Garnett said. “What goes on in practice should always stay in practice. And what goes on between two conglomerates as businesses should always stay (private). Everything is so god damn public now…
“I never requested a trade because I viewed ‘Sota as mine,” Garnett said. “I built this house. I’m not leaving this god damn house. You can get the f— up out of here. You don’t like it, then leave.”
To be fair, Butler said all summer long he told team president/coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden that he didn’t see a future in Minnesota and did not plan to re-sign next summer. Thibodeau did not act on that, likely both because he wanted to win now and because he thought that playing together and winning would solve the team’s problems. So, Butler made his demands crystal clear and took his fight to get traded public.
Then he took it to practice, in a tirade clearly designed to put pressure on the organization to make a trade — you think it was a coincidence the day Butler returned to practice and went off very publicly was the day ESPN’s Rachel Nichols was scheduled to be in Minnesota to interview players?
What’s left now is a dumpster fire in Minnesota. Thibodeau pulled out of a trade with Miami last minute, but at this point the offers for Butler are not going to get better. Miami has made its move and that’s the only team Minnesota has had any real traction with so far according to reports. The market for Butler has cooled and teams find the Thibodeau/Layden team difficult to deal with. Butler
is not about to miss any game checks is a competitor and will be there when the regular season starts next week, but awkward would understate the situation.
And it will remain a s— storm until owner Glen Taylor steps up and gets a trade done. Garnett had his own issues with Taylor — that’s why he’s not part of the organization in some role now, and why his number has yet to be retired by the team — so don’t expect KG to rally to the owner’s defense. But ending this is all on Taylor now.