Garnett agreed to drop his no-trade clause and accept a deal from the Brooklyn Nets to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Thaddeus Young, the teams announced Thursday evening.
The move affords Garnett the chance to play out his 20th and perhaps final NBA season as a member of the team that drafted him out of high school in 1995 — and under longtime coach Flip Saunders.
“We are excited to have Kevin Garnett back in Minnesota and playing for the Timberwolves,” Saunders said in a statement. “When people think of the Timberwolves they think of KG. He had some great years for us and our organization and fans really respect what he’s done here in Minnesota and throughout his NBA career. KG will bring his usual strong work ethic and leadership and be a positive influence for our young team.”
Saunders remains close with Garnett and had expressed his desire to bring back the most popular player in Wolves annals as a mentor to the many youngsters on the current roster, headlined by 2014’s No. 1 draft pick, Andrew Wiggins.
“It means a lot to me to have Kevin Garnett back on our team,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said. “I have great respect for Kevin as a person and a player. He was the first player we drafted after I bought the team and we got to see him develop into one of the best players in the world. Like our fans, I’m excited to be able to watch Kevin in a Timberwolves uniform once again.”
King of Minnesota
In getting Kevin Garnett back, the Timberwolves are getting back their franchise leader in just about every statistical category — and it isn’t even close.
Category Garnett Team Rank*
Points 19,041 1st
Rebs 10,542 1st
Asts 4,146 1st
Steals 1,282 1st
Blocks 1,576 1st
*More than double next closest MIN player
–ESPN Stats & Information
Garnett will arrive in Minnesota on Saturday for his physical and will debut Wednesday against the Washington Wizards.
Garnett was among 39 players to change hands Thursday, a day that marked the busiest trade deadline day in 25 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Garnett, chosen by the Wolves with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft, guided Minnesota to the only eight playoff appearances in franchise history and won the MVP while leading them to the Western Conference finals in 2004.
He was traded to Boston in 2007, and he won a championship in his first season with the Celtics.
The Wolves have missed the playoffs in each of the seven seasons since his departure.
ESPN first reported the possibility of the deal Wednesday night. David Aldridge of NBA.com was the first to report Garnett would waive his no-trade clause.