Kevin Garnett was selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday and his No. 5 will be retired by Boston Celtics at some point next season. But Garnett’s ill feelings toward owner Glen Taylor have kept the best player in Wolves franchise history from having his No. 21 raised into the rafters at Target Center.
So is there any chance the relationship between Garnett and Taylor can be repaired? Don’t count on it. Garnett, in an interview with The Athletic, made it clear how he feels about Taylor and just how much ill will has existed between the two since Flip Saunders’ passing in 2015.
“Glen knows where I’m at, I’m not entertaining it,” Garnett told Shams Charania of The Athletic when asked about having his jersey number retired. “First of all, it’s not genuine. Two, he’s getting pressure from a lot of fans and, I guess, the community there. Glen and I had an understanding before Flip died, and when Flip died, that understanding went with Flip. For that, I won’t forgive Glen. I won’t forgive him for that. I thought he was a straight up person, straight up business man, and when Flip died, everything went with him.
“There’s no reason to complain. Just continue to move on. My years in Minnesota and in that community, I cherish. At this point, I don’t want any dealings with Glen Taylor or Taylor Corp. or anything that has to do with him. I love my Timberwolves, I’ll always love my guys, I’ll always love the people who (mess) with me there. I’ll always have a special place for the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in my heart. But I don’t do business with snakes. I don’t do business with snake (expletive). I try not to do business with openly snakes or people who are snake-like.”
Garnett was the fifth pick by the Timberwolves in the 1995 NBA draft out of Farragut Career Academy High School in Chicago and spent his first 12 seasons in Minnesota. He was selected to the All-Star Game 10 times while with the Wolves — he was named an All-Star 15 times in his career — and led the franchise to eight consecutive playoff appearances, including the Western Conference Finals in 2004. Garnett was named the NBA MVP that season.
The Wolves traded Garnett to Boston in July 2007 and he won his only NBA title with the Celtics in 2008. Garnett was traded to Brooklyn before the 2013 season and returned to the Wolves in February 2015. He retired in September 2016. Garnett, 43, is one of four NBA players to win both the MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year awards. He was a nine-time NBA All-Defensive first-team selection.
When Saunders acquired Garnett in 2015, there was discussion of Garnett joining the ownership group when his playing days were done or having a role in the front office. Everything changed when Saunders passed away after a battle with cancer in October 2015. Taylor brought in Tom Thibodeau to run the basketball operations and coach the team and, as The Athletic reported, Garnett felt that the team went back on the plans that he had discussed with Saunders.