Friday, September 23, 2016

Kevin Garnett reaches buyout with tumultuous Timberwolves organization.

In a sudden turn for the worst, the Minnesota Timberwolves organization has fired Coach Sam Mitchell due to the disappointing start of this season and has replaced him with defensive, but also divisive former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Mitchell has been very vocal in his disagreement about the firing, and sadly this ordeal comes not long after the passing of famed Timberwolves president Phil 'Flip' Saunders.

Last season, "The Big Ticket" Kevin Garnett chose to leave for his original team and ideally close out his career there, with the possibility of moving into the front office. This move came after 'KG' won two championships with the San Antonio Spurs alongside longtime, former rival Tim 'The Big Fundamental' Duncan. In the season before Garnett left for the T'Wolves, his production value had dropped and made his request more acceptable to the Spurs. Garnett was able to mentor the 'Big Cat' Karl Anthony-Towns in his first season back with the T'Wolves and also get into a scuffle with Lakers prospect Julius Randle, in classic 'KG' fashion.

Now, though, things have gone quite sour in Minnesota and far from where Garnett would prefer for them to be. He let this be clear and known to the front office, and shortly thereafter was able to reach a buyout agreement with the team. This is an unfortunate chain of events, as KG's return renewed fan interest. However, some fans felt it was part of the problem with the philosophy of team management and why the team did little more than benefit from Towns' production as Rookie of the Year.

 So, "The Big Ticket" and his agent contacted the only team he trusted to boost his spirits and offer a familiar environment. It doesn't hurt that it appears for San Antonio to be a viable threat to repeat again as NBA Champions this season. Coach Popovich and executive R.C. Buford made it clear to Garnett that he would leave his feelings about the tumult in Minnesota where it belongs and that, as history has shown, Popovich would not hesitate to cut him from the team if undesired problems arise.

This team is different in appearance than when Garnett left it almost two seasons ago, and Garnett will fall in at the power forward position behind Thaddeus Young and David Lee. To ease the transition, Josh "J-Smoove" Smith will move over strictly to the small forward spot behind 'The Claw' Kawhi Leonard, instead of hopping back and forth between the two. The deal will be for the veteran's minimum (1.55m) and it appears likely, though uncertain, that Garnett may retire after this season, and the second year of this deal accordingly being a player option.

 The biggest difference now is that Tim Duncan is gone, and this is, by all predictions, poised to become Kawhi Leonard's team. Garnett recently shared a picture of a younger Duncan and himself upon hearing of Duncan's departure from the hardwood, a declaration of respect. Pau Gasol is the newest addition to the Spurs lineup since KG's exit and was a strong rival during the Lakers/Celtics most recent Finals clashes before KG left the Celtics in a trade to the Spurs seasons ago. "Well, certainly he can offer a lot of experience and toughness to our team. He's been here before, and I've definitely seen firsthand the level of competition and intensity he brings on the court, so it will be a joy to play alongside him with the Spurs," Gasol told reporters once he heard the news.

Hopefully, as Garnett is known for his passion, the Big Ticket will be able to come to peace with some of his demons as he re-joins the Spurs that brought him success. KG will wear #10 this time for San Antonio, in tribute to the ten years he played under the late Coach Saunders.