Archive for Monday, November 28, 2005

Commentary: Time has come for Wolves to deal

Garnett should be shipped; here are some possibilities for Minnesota to consider

November 28, 2005

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— Trading Kevin Garnett.

It's almost one of those unthinkable transactions. The kind that, if you're a Minnesota sports fan, would make you lose faith in the entire concept of organized games.

Yet one enormously disappointing season, followed this season by a few harsh words from Garnett about his general manager, Kevin McHale, and all of a sudden the idea has some legs.

And if you remember only two years ago, the league's one seemingly immovable player made a trip from Los Angeles to Miami via trade. So why not Garnett?

But who do you trade Garnett for? The Lakers are still getting grief for settling on Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant for Shaquille O'Neal, so the Timberwolves would have to think long and hard before they give up the player who has defined the franchise.

A look at the possibilities:

¢ Garnett for Shaq: If you're the Timberwolves, you hesitate giving up a 29-year-old forward for a 33-year-old center, even if it is O'Neal, because you don't have much of a supporting cast. With O'Neal looking at another four years in his career, it's doubtful the Wolves can surround him with enough talent soon to compete for a title.

If you're the Heat, you make the move strictly based on age. Garnett being four years younger means a few more years of a dominant teammate to play with Dwyane Wade. And at $2 million less a season? What a bargain.

¢ Garnett for Nowitzki: If you're the Timberwolves, you take this chance. Not only is Dirk Nowitzki two years younger than Garnett, but he's barely a drop-off in talent. Nowitzki is more of a perimeter player than Garnett, who works inside out, but you'd be trading one of the league's most unique 7-footers for another in return.

If you're the Mavericks, you're all over this deal. Nowitzki has been great for six of his eight years in Dallas, but what has that gotten you except a trip to the Western Conference finals?

¢ Garnett for Vince and Jefferson: If you're the Wolves, you probably avoid this. Not that trading one great player for two isn't a sound decision, but Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter might be too similar. And without a point guard such as Jason Kidd there to distribute the ball, the two probably won't be as effective as they can be. Also, Carter's prior injuries would temper the excitement.

If you're the Nets, you probably pass. Garnett's enormous salary combined with Kidd's would leave you strapped for years.

¢ Garnett for Rasheed and Darko: Like the Nets deal, this was has been floated around. If you're the Timberwolves, there's no chance you pull the trigger. Rasheed Wallace is best when surrounded with the type of talent the Pistons have. He has no interest in being a superstar, so he wouldn't carry that team very far. And Darko Milicic, even though he has shown a few flashes recently, is in no way a No. 2 overall pick talent.

If you're the Pistons, the only thing keeping you from making this move is loyalty. You won a title with Wallace and went to another NBA Finals. But he's not an all-around player like Garnett. He's two years older, so it just makes sense to make the switch.

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