Kevin Garnett makes the big shot. Kevin Garnett skips into the passing lane to grab the steal, and minutes later sends a shot hurling viciously into the stands. Chris Webber misses the game tying three pointer and the Minnesota Timberolves beat the Sacramento Kings to go to the 2004 Western Conference Finals.
The Wolves would go on to lose in the Western Conference Finals to the Shaq and Kobe Lakers, but that season, and that playoff run, is forever immortalized in the hearts of Timberwolves fans everywhere. So why is it that the driving force behind the greatest successes this organization has ever seen, Kevin Garnett, does not have his jersey retired?
“I don’t do business with snakes. …I try not to do business with openly snakes or people who are snake-like,” Garnett said, in reference to Wolves owner Glen Taylor, in an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic.
According to Garnett, his relationship with Taylor soured after his retirement from the NBA, back in 2016. Before retiring, Garnett had displayed an interest in joining the Timberwolves ownership group, or perhaps holding an important role in the future of the franchise where he spent his first 12 years and won his sole league MVP. However, after the passing of longtime Timberwolves coach, and close friend Flip Saunders, Taylor reportedly went back on an agreement that was in place between him and Garnett.
Since that magical 2004 playoff run, the Timberwolves have been to the playoffs one time, have not won any playoff series, and have had only two winning seasons, only one of those coming without Garnett. The Wolves have been about as mediocre as any NBA franchise for the past decade, and most of, if not all, of that blame falls on Taylor.
With the hiring of incompetent general managers, misguided draft picks and $100 million contracts rewarded on the basis of future improvement (looking at you Andrew Wigggins), Taylor has bungled the direction of this Wolves organization in almost every way. Additionally, Taylor has displayed an unwillingness to spend in order to win, with the Timberwolves hardly ever being major players in the free agency market, and often making questionable trades in order to stay under the leagues salary cap.
Taylor, whose net worth was estimated to be around $1.86 billion back in 2015, is also the owner of the Minnesota Lynx WNBA team and the owner of the Star Tribune, which is the largest newspaper in the state of Minnesota. While the Timberwolves are valued at nearly $1.4 billion, that is among the lowest of the 30 organizations in the NBA, and far below the league average. Additionally, the Wolves organization only brings in $284 million in annual revenue, a figure that puts them at 27th among league rankings.
Even with the seemingly revamped roster, with seven new players added at this year’s trade deadline, and the addition of young all-star point guard D’Angelo Russell, the Timberwolves are still on the clock. Franchise cornerstone Karl Anthony Towns has made the playoffs only once during his five year tenure with the team, and they are poised to finish well under .500 for the 2019-2020 season. Towns signing a multi-year max contract extension and getting to play with longtime friend Russell help, but if things don’t brighten soon, the Wolves may find themselves on the wrong end of a trade request.
With all of these missteps, a comparison between Taylor and New York Knicks owner James Dolan is not one far from the realm of reality. When you include the disrespect of former team legends, bungled contracts and an almost apathetic attitude towards the running of the organization, perhaps the chants of “sell the team!” that haunt Dolan, may soon make their way to the seats of the Target Center.