Could the future of Timberwolves ownership have become clearer today? Kevin Garnett, the franchise icon currently playing on the last year of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets had this to say to Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears last night:
"I want to buy the Timberwolves. Put a group together and perhaps some day try to buy the team. That's what I want," Garnett said after a 107-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
The popular thought has been that this will be Garnett's final year as a player. He's 38 and in the final year of his contract, and his playing time has been limited. He struggled physically last season and while he has shown some more life this year, it's early in the season. He hasn't ruled out playing next season, but if he cannot get through this year healthy, it will probably be the end of a Hall of Fame career.
Current owner Glen Taylor has toyed with the idea of selling the team in the recent past, but has been unable to find a buyer who meets his requirements. Taylor has insisted that any sale include an agreement to keep the team in Minnesota, and he has wanted to stay involved with the team at least in the short term following a sale agreement.
As recently as this spring he was looking for someone to buy a minority stake that would include an option to buy him out in the future. Unable to find a suitable arrangement, he instead sold a small stake in the team to Flip Saunders, who took over as team president, and later head coach.
Garnett would likely appeal to Taylor as a possible successor. Taylor values loyalty and local ties, and while things ended somewhat badly when Garnett was traded, with Taylor making some negative remarks about his final year here, in the larger picture Garnett was incredibly loyal to "'Sota" and the organization for many years. He also maintains a close relationship with Saunders, who would presumably retain a role in a Garnett led organization.
It remains to be seen what kind of owner Garnett would make, but there is no question that he has a passion for basketball and for winning. We've long argued that much of the failure of the team over the past decade can be traced back to an ownership that values the wrong things. The Wolves need a new direction. What direction Garnett would provide as an owner is unclear, but he would undoubtedly be a popular face of the franchise.
Of course ex-players in ownership and/or management roles have been a mixed bag over the years, and we can't know if Garnett's talents would transfer effectively, but it would be a major change for a franchise that is desperately in need of change.
It's certainly something that would be interesting to watch unfold.