It’s a sad day in sports when a superstar wants to stay with the only team he has ever played for and then gets traded. Kevin Garnett only knew the Minnesota Timberwolves since he joined the NBA out of high school and it was his first choice for the future. Unfortunately, the franchise finally gave up on surrounding Garnett with the right type of players and shipped him off to the Boston Celtics, a team he had previously stated he did not want to play for.
Garnett fully acknowledges now that the teammates he played with in Minnesota were not going to get him to the promised land of the NBA finals. “This is probably my best opportunity at winning a ring,” Garnett said during his introductory news conference. “It was a no-brainer.” Of course if the decision to play in Boston truly was a “no-brainer,” then don’t you think he would have accepted the trade when it was first proposed before this year’s draft?
Too few players are staying with the team that drafted them these days and it was always a delight to hear Garnett constantly speak about how much he enjoyed ‘Sota (his word, not mine). This isn’t Tracy McGrady leaving Toronto to sign a max contract with Orlando. This isn’t Karl Malone signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in a cheap attempt to win a ring (which didn’t work out). This is a player, no, an absolute superstar, making public statements that he did not want to be traded, would not leave after his contract was expired and yet there is the team in Minnesota waving him goodbye and good luck. Instead of trying to bring in teammates who could help him get back to the Western Conference Finals and beyond, the team decided to simply stop trying to help the face of the franchise for the last decade.
Sure the trade to Boston is different now because they were able to obtain Ray Allen on Draft night, but it wasn’t the lack of talent that Garnett opposed. He didn’t want to go to Boston simply because he wanted to stay in Minnesota. Is there anyone else in the NBA who has this stance? Maybe other than Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowtizki, but they get to live in Texas. Can you picture Kobe Bryant trying to say he wants to stay in MINNESOTA? Despite his back and forth trade demands, if it were up to Kobe, he would stay in Los Angeles (Lakers or not). No one, and I mean no one, actually wants to stay in Minneapolis (or St. Paul), Minnesota. Well, except for Kevin Garnett…and now he doesn’t get the chance.