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OAKLAND, Calif. – Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett doesn't want to be an NBA general manager or coach when his playing days are over. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ all-time leading scorer has his eye on an even higher position with his former NBA franchise.
Garnett told Yahoo Sports he wants to one day own the Timberwolves.
"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 Timberwolves drafted Garnett with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft. The 15-time All-Star played for the Timberwolves for 12 seasons before being traded to Boston, where he led the Celtics to a championship in 2008. Garnett pushed Minnesota to eight consecutive playoff appearances, and the franchise has not been to the postseason since his departure.
The Timberwolves were valued at $430 million in January, according to Forbes Magazine. The next NBA television contract will be extremely lucrative and is expected to raise the price of the franchise. Garnett, the 2004 MVP who averaged 20.5 points and 11.4 rebounds during his tenure with Minnesota, has made $315 million in his NBA career and will make an additional $12 million this season. He also has made millions in endorsements.
Nets general manager Billy King said he wouldn’t be surprised if Garnett were to buy the Timberwolves.
"He would be one of the best owners in the NBA because he understands what the players need and he understands what it takes to be successful in the NBA,” King told Yahoo Sports.
On May 12, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told the Associated Press he was looking to add a minority partner who would hold an option to buy him out. Taylor also made it clear he is committed to keeping the team in Minnesota.
Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders is Garnett's former coach with the franchise, which is rebuilding and expected to miss the playoffs once again. But the team does have several young talented players: 2014 No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Peckovic, Anthony Bennett, Shabazz Muhammad and rookie Zach LaVine.
For Garnett, it’s all about his history with the franchise.
"That is the one that has my interest. I have ties there. Flip's there," said Garnett, 38.
But the reality of buying the team may have to wait because it doesn’t sound like Garnett’s ready to retire. Garnett is averaging eight points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes per game this season as the Nets’ starting power forward, and he says one of his biggest joys is mentoring young players.
“There are so many things that I see that I can provide to younger players,” Garnett said. “I gravitate to the guys that really, really work hard. I’m able to show them things. Help their games. To see the progress is huge.”
Coming off a career-worst season in which he averaged 6.5 points and 6.6 rebounds, Garnett had a lot to think about and didn’t give King official word he was coming back until mid-September.
“I really didn’t like last year and the way I played, so I put myself in a position to be successful, to be better,” Garnett said. “I did that by starting things early [in the offseason].”
It’s a mentality that Garnett takes pride in now that his career is winding down.
“He came back on a bit of a mission,” Nets center Brook Lopez said. “He put in a lot of work this summer. He wanted to come back in ready to help us any way he could."
Garnett is No. 1 among active NBA players in games played (1,385) and minutes (49,094), and acknowledged that seeing many of his peers and former teammates retire in recent years has been difficult. Even so, Garnett has been inspired by former teammate Sam Cassell, who is now a Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach. Cassell told him to “enjoy the last years because you never know when it’s over.”
Garnett declined comment when asked if he’d be interested in finishing his playing career with the Timberwolves or with his former Celtics coach Doc Rivers with the Los Angeles Clippers, but the future is never far from his mind.
“If you have an opportunity to do what you love, then do it,” Garnett said. “I never want to cut any opportunity short or shut the door on another opportunity. If I’m able to contribute something of value and that value turns into something and I’m able to turn nothing into something, yeah that’s opportunity.”
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