Sources: Timberwolves, Kevin Garnett deep into contract-settlement talks

ByMarc Stein ESPN logo
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves are in advanced discussions on a contract settlement that is expected to end his second stint with the team, according to league sources.

The belief in Minneapolis, sources told, is that Garnett, at age 40, will opt for retirement after 21 seasons in the NBA.

But the strongest signals Wednesday night pointed to Garnett and his representatives securing a settlement with the Wolves that will lead to his departure from the organization with one season and $8 million left on his current contract.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he hasn't talked to Garnett "for weeks."

"I have not talked with him at all," Taylor told the newspaper. "We have to decide, in the next couple weeks, if he's going to play or not play. I'm waiting for him. I sent him a message, told him, "I need you to make a decision.' I just haven't heard from him."

Drafted by the Wolves straight out of high school in 1995, Garnett was the face of the franchise for 12 seasons until his July 2007 trade to the Boston Celtics. He won a championship in his first season with the Celtics, moved to the Brooklyn Nets via trade in June 2013, then returned to Minnesota in February 2015, when then-Wolves coach Flip Saunders convinced Garnett to waive his no-trade clause to clinch the storybook reunion.

Garnett agreed to come back to the Wolves, sources say, in part because he hoped to join Saunders in eventually buying the franchise from Taylor, the longtime owner. But Garnett lost his strongest ally in the organization when Saunders died just before the start of last season, only three months after it was announced Saunders had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Plagued by knee trouble, Garnett appeared in only 43 games over a season and a half in his second tour with the Wolves. But last season, he was an influential mentor to the Wolves' young players, particularly prized big man Karl-Anthony Towns, who won NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

Garnett is a 15-time All-Star who won league MVP honors in 2004 before leading the Saunders-coached Wolves to the Western Conference finals that season in what stands as the most successful campaign in franchise history.

The 6-foot-11 power forward was the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft, launching a new era of stars who went directly from high school to the NBA. He has averaged 17.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 blocks for his career.