The Minnesota Timberwolves lost their franchise power forward in the offseason, as Kevin Love made it clear he wanted out and was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Eight years earlier, something very similar happened with the best player in Tiberwolves history, Kevin Garnett. Tired of not having the right supporting cast around him to contend for a championship, Garnett asked out and was traded to the Celtics, where he won a ring after teaming up with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. The franchise that drafted him remained close to his heart, however, with reports that Garnett hoped to buy the Timberwolves one day.
Now it looks like a reunion could happen sooner than expected.
The Timberwolves have engaged the Brooklyn Nets in trade talks to bring Garnett back to Minnesota, offering Thaddeus Young in exchange, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The move would represent an upgrade for the Nets, as Garnett's game has slipped significantly in what is likely his last season as a pro. Brooklyn is currently fighting for a playoff spot, ranking ninth in the standings, one game back from the eight-seeded Miami Heat. In their last game before the break -- a loss to the Grizzlies -- Garnett was on the court for only 14 ineffective minutes. With Mirza Teletovic out for the season, the team needs someone who can sop up big minutes and Garnett is just not that player anymore.
The Timberwolves surrendered a first round pick for Young in the offseason, hoping to remain competitive during their rebuilding project. Injuries to key players prevented it and now they are trying to move Young before he opts out of his contract after the season to become an unrestricted free agent. The move would be purely based on sentimental reasons for one of the West's worst teams, as they seem on their way to a top five pick anyways. Garnett played under Flip Saunders, who reportedly wants him to mentor the young players on the roster before retiring with the franchise that drafted him.
Garnett has been reluctant to ask for a buyout or even entertain trade possibilities citing the inconvenience of moving his family mid-season as the main reason. He has a no-trade clause, which means that even if the teams agree on a trade, he could prevent it from happening. It's unclear yet whether he's leaning in this instance, as a reunion with Saunders and a chance to erase any bad blood that might still be there with the fanbase after his departure could prove enticing.
"Late chargers" pursuing Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo has been one of the hottest commodities leading up to the trade deadline and it looks like more teams are joining in the pursuit for the 29-year-old swingman, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The Trail Blazers are mentioned as a possible destination, which makes sense, considering their lack of quality depth at the wing.
Nicolas Batum has struggled all season and behind him are young and unproven players like C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe and Will Barton and ineffective veterans Dorell Wright and Victor Claver. Afflalo would be a huge upgrade, as he would bring three-point shooting, defense and a budding post game that would allow him to anchor some units on offense.
The package the Blazers are offering is reportedly centered on Thomas Robinson's expiring contract and a first round pick. Another player would have to be added to make the salaries match, which shouldn't be a problem. The Nuggets are probably holding out, hoping that as the deadline nears, teams will get desperate and offer a better deal. It seems they are right, as more suitors and apparently asking about Afflalo as well as small forward Wilson Chandler.
Celtics not in a hurry to make a move
The Boston Celtics have been in a lot of trade rumors recently, reportedly chasing Ty Lawson, DeMarcus Cousins, Enes Kanter, Reggie Jackson, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas. While there was some exploratory interest, general manager Danny Ainge hasn't been actively pursuing a trade, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. It's more likely they will be sellers, receiving draft picks or young players for their veterans or helping facilitate trades for an asset than they are to be involved in a big trade themselves.
The Celtics have veterans on expiring contracts like Tayshaun Prince, Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton as well as the young players and draft picks to swing a deal for any of the players that are reportedly on the block but are still in the middle or their rebuilding project, with contention still years away. It's understandable for them to stand pat unless a trade that is too good to pass up presents itself.
Dragic still wants out, owner might be blocking trade
Goran Dragic has left no doubts about his desire to leave the Phoenix Suns, saying that he wants to put himself in a better situation after being marginalized in the offense with Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas requiring touches. He gave the Suns a list of teams he wishes to be traded to -- the Knicks, the Lakers and the Heat -- and remains steadfast on his choices, with his camp saying he will not re-sign with any other team when he becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season.
The Suns have little bargaining power thanks to the leaks and are being forced to deal with teams that don't have the assets they covet. It's likely for that reason that angered owner Robert Sarver is refusing to accommodate Dragic's trade request, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard. In all likelihood it's a negotiation tactic designed to give the Suns back some leverage, as what Dragic has said on the record would make it extremely uncomfortable for coach Jeff Hornacek and the rest of the players to have to deal with Dragic daily.
Nuggets not satisfied with Lawson offers
The Nuggets made Ty Lawson available, hoping to receive a good enough offer that would motivate them to trade the underrated 27-year-old point guard. So far, it hasn't happened, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
Coach Brian Shaw reportedly wanted Indiana's George Hill as Lawson's replacement if he was traded but a straight up swap was always doubtful, as Lawson has considerably more value than Hill thanks to a cap-friendly contract and superior play. It looks like Lawson will stay in Denver unless a great offer appears in the the hours leading up to the deadline.