Take your pictures down and shake it out,
Truth or consequence, say it aloud,
Use that evidence, race it around
There goes my hero,
Watch him as he goes,
There goes my hero,
- My Hero, by Foo Fighters
There you have it: The death of a dream. [image2]
This article may come as a shock to you, especially if you read my article, “The Fifth Stage”. In that piece I shot down any notion that Kevin Garnett should be traded and vehemently argued why anything less would be unnacceptable. So if you’re sitting at your computer wondering why it seems like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth, let me explain to you why I’m not.
[ad2] Trading Kevin Garnett will always be unnacceptable. Shipping The Big Ticket off to another franchise means that the Wolves front office has messed up so incredibly beyond repair, that our only hope of fixing things is to sell our soul. That is never going to be acceptable. It also means that our front office will have robbed every single one of us of the opportunity to watch Kevin Garnett bring us home a championship. Also unnacceptable. So when I propose the following trade, please bear in mind that I do so as a last resort.
I’ve said more time than I can count that having Kevin Garnett on my team means more than winning a championship. I’ve also said that Kevin Garnett’s legacy would mean more if he stayed in Minnesota than if he won a championship. But both of those statements were based on one underlying premise: That the Timberwolves would remain competitive. If you told me that the Wolves would finish out KG’s career with a long string of playoff appearances and a handful of trips to the second round, I could live with that. It’s not my dream, but at least it gives me a lot of good times and Kevin Garnett. When you tell me that the Wolves are going to take two or three years to even start sniffing the playoffs again and that KG is going to be 35 when we finally notch our eight first round exit, now I’m going to start considering a trade.
Keeping Kevin Garnett in Minnesota means the world to me. But it has to be “happy” Kevin Garnett. It has to be the Kevin Garnett that we knew up until our Western Conference Finals run ended. To turn the league’s most lovable player into “unhappy” Kevin Garnett by making both him and us fans suffer through year after year of 50 loss seasons, how is that worth it? If you told me there was even a 5% chance that Timberwolves fans would get their “once-in-a-lifetime” moment and watch KG hoist that trophy, I’d stick it out. But when I sit here, and I can’t for the life of me figure out one realistic way in which this team could keep Kevin Garnett and even get into the top 75% of the league, nevermind actually become the champions, maybe it’s time to make the move I’ve been dreading for so long. Keeping KG in Minnesota has always meant that we were going to fight the odds and reach for our dreams no matter what the circumstances. But when the circumstances are a future full of blown 16-point leads, fourth quarter meltdowns, and 20 point blow-outs, maybe it’s actually time to give up. Maybe there’s no point in fighting when all we’ll get in return is heartache, frustration, and a giant black mark on the career of our hero.
Is it acceptable? No. It never will be.
But is it the best thing for us fans and for Kevin Garnett? Probably.
Here’s how I’d sell my soul:
Minnesota Trades: Kevin Garnett, Troy Hudson, Trenton Hassell
Minnesota Receives: P.J. Brown, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Jamaal Magloire, Knicks 1st round Pick
Chicago Trades: P.J. Brown, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Knicks 1st round Pick
Chicago Receives: Kevin Garnett, Troy Hudson
Portland Trades: Jamaal Magloire
Portland Receives: Tyrus Thomas, Trenton Hassell
Why Portland Trades: They’re getting a young stud in Thomas, and a player they’ve coveted in Hassell for somebody who likely won’t even be on their team next year.
Why Portland Doesn’t Trade: They want to save money.
Why Chicago Trades: They’re giving up a lot, but it’s going to take a lot to offset KG’s massive salary, especially when you consider that Deng, Gordon, and Hinrich are only getting paid 2-3 million each per year. If it weren’t for P.J. Brown’s 8.5 million dollar salary, this trade wouldn’t even be possible. Basically, they’ll now have an amazing front court in KG and Big Ben, with Nocioni and Duhon as solid starters. Are the Bulls necessarily championship contenders after losing that many players? No. But they’ve got a very solid foundation to work on. You’re not going to get a world-class superstar in his prime for peanuts. Bottom line: They’re without question getting the best player in the deal, always a good thing. And how often do you get to trade for a Kevin Garnett without losing a single one of your own draft picks?
Why Chicago Doesn’t Trade: They’re losing a lot of players.
Why Minnesota Trades: It’s the only move that can put the team back on a track towards a title. However, trading KG while being saddled with ugly contracts like Huddy’s, Marko’s, and Trenton’s wouldn’t make sense. This move allows us to ship off T-Hud and Hassell’s contracts for the expiring deals of Magloire and P.J. Brown. You’ve got a nice, nice young nucleus. Hinrich, Deng, Gordon, Foye, McCants, and Craig Smith. Plus the Wolves would be Shat-astic without KG, and assuming they’d keep Casey around just to avoid complete chaos, you’re looking at a high lottery pick. Plus you have the Knicks pick. So you’re also adding two young studs to the fold, one of whom just might be Greg Oden.
Why Minnesota Doesn’t Trade: I have no idea. If you’re a Wolves fan, tell me that you’re not infintely more excited about the future with this team.
I personally think this is a great trade for all three teams. It’s only marginally questionable for Chicago. They are giving up a whole lot player-wise. But KG’s salary is just so big, there’s no other way to really do it. If they’d throw in a couple of scrubs to make salaries work and a first rounder instead of Ben Gordon, I’d probably still go for it. And yes, taking on Huddy’s contract is a negative for them as well. But they’re getting KEVIN GARNETT. We’re selling your our soul. You have to work with us here!
So that’s my monster trade… I think it’s fairly realistic. Yeah, it going to break my heart. But you know KG will be so much happier as well. So who’s losing?
Maybe it really is time to watch my hero go.