Kevin Garnett played 14 of his 21 seasons in the NBA with the Minnesota Timberwolves, so what does the retired forward known for his fiery competitiveness have to say about his former team’s current strife?
“It’s a s— storm up there.”
In an interview with The Athletic, Garnett said he hopes the franchise can “get through this rough patch and everybody can get on the same [page] and figure it out” but sees flaws in disgruntled star Jimmy Butler‘s approach in requesting a trade.
“I think both sides are a little delusional,” Garnett said. “I think Jimmy thinks his worth is a little more than what it is. He’s a very good player. I don’t see him on the [Kevin Durant] and LeBron [James] level. But if they are A-plus, he’s definitely A, A-minus.
“I don’t know if he had the power to come out and force a trade like this. He can be disruptive, but I don’t know if he actually had the clout to come out and do that. I don’t know if Jimmy has enough juice to be that.”
Garnett said he can relate to the histrionics Butler is said to have exhibited in his brief return to Wolves practice.
“You don’t think that I went crazy sometimes? Man, I was a damn Tasmanian devil,” Garnett said. “I would say s— at [Kevin] McHale. I would say s— at Flip [Saunders]. But it was all to motivate all of us. We had a big game against Chicago, and I’m just raising the level to what I’m expecting the next day to be like.”
The difference Garnett is seeing is that everything is playing out in the media in real time.
“What’s really the s— storm is that can’t nobody keep s— in practice,” Garnett said. “What goes on in practice should always stay in practice. And what goes on between two conglomerates as businesses should always stay [private]. Everything is so god damn public now.”
Garnett said Butler “has a lot of upside and a lot of value and a lot of equity that he’s built for himself” but doesn’t want to see the veteran forward “get dismantled or get depreciated because of his actions.”
Despite that, Garnett said he draws the line at demanding a trade, as he never requested out of Minnesota. He was famously traded to the Boston Celtics ahead of the 2007-08 season but had to be convinced to accept the deal.
“I never requested a trade because I viewed ‘Sota as mine,” said Garnett, who has a contentious relationship with current Wolves owner Glen Taylor. “I built this house. I’m not leaving this god damn house. You can get the f— up out of here. You don’t like it, then leave. … I never asked for a trade because I never wanted to be traded.”
Garnett returned to Minnesota for the final season and a half of his career and acted as a mentor to Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, the young, well-paid Wolves who are seen as being part of Butler’s issues with the team.
“Wigs, KAT, those are my guys,” Garnett said. “I root for those guys.”
Despite his affinity for the duo, Garnett was also able to level some criticism at one of the franchise cornerstones.
“KAT has good leadership skills because he works hard,” Garnett said. “It’s whether he wants to vocalize those, which is his next challenge as a leader, to me.”
One thing Butler has proved is he is not afraid to vocalize his issues.