The Timberwolves would retire Garnett’s jersey tomorrow if they could. He is far and away the most accomplished and most popular player to ever suit up here. The lone stretch of modest success enjoyed by the team was in KG’s prime. There appeared at one point to be a possible thawing of the iciness as recently as last season. But Garnett remains upset at owner Glen Taylor for the way things ended and a promise that he believes was broken.
Throughout that previous season, KG had made it clear behind the scenes that he planned on taking over as a primary decision-maker in the franchise. He wanted to be an owner and implement his own vision for where this team could go. That he wasn’t consulted on the decision not to retain Mitchell and the implementation of a new front office felt like a betrayal to him. “I think if you put enough blood, sweat and tears into these organizations, you should have at least the option to be able to buy into or have a piece of it,” Garnett said during an All-Star weekend appearance with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their “All the Smoke” podcast. “Hell, you helped build it.
The reality is it is a delicate situation for them. They know that Garnett still holds a grudge against Taylor. They understand that there is a large gap to be bridged. They want things to be on good terms before such a festive event is planned. Wolves CEO Ethan Casson and COO Ryan Tanke, longtime franchise employees who have some rapport with Garnett, and Ryan Saunders, Flip’s son and the current head coach, have worked hard behind the scenes over the last several years to try to repair the organization’s relationship with its biggest star.
Former equipment manager Clayton Wilson, a longtime Garnett confidante, had a special jersey made for him and the organization bent over backward to make him feel welcome in his first game back since he retired. It was then that there was a belief that progress was being made. As it stands today, the Wolves still hold out hope that they are headed in the right direction toward the essential re-establishment of a connection with the team’s North Star.