Updated Sep 22, 2015 at 11:58a ET
The Kevin Garnett-for-Thaddeus Young trade made no on-court sense for the Timberwolves. It didn't at the time. It doesn't now.
After the Nets and Wolves made the midseason swap right before last season's trade deadline, Young helped carry the Nets to a No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, and Garnett played a grand total of five games for Minnesota. And it was predictable on both sides. Young is simply a better basketball player at this point in their respectively careers. But that's not why the Wolves did the trade, and don't think bringing KG back to the team that drafted him was just about sentimentality, either.
Minnesota wanted someone to look after its young players. So, in that sense, who better than one of the best locker room leaders and most renowned teammates and workers of his generation? No on, apparently. And it seems 2015 No. 1-overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns agrees.
Here's more from Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:
“He’s my mentor,” said Towns, who spent time with Garnett in Los Angeles last month. “Everything he knows, and countless years he’s been playing this game at a high level, just trying to garner information from him every day. Learn how to be a better leader, how to be a champion, just to be a true professional.”
Obviously, KAT wasn't around when the Wolves made the trade back in February, but the concept of him was. Andrew Wiggins was there. Anthony Bennett was there, though he may not be for much longer. Gorgui Dieng was. Even Ricky Rubio is still a young kid, only 24 years old at the moment.
The Wolves are getting all they could've wanted from Garnett in the off-court game. But that said, you have to wonder if Minnesota regrets taking a half-a-season of Thaddeus Young instead of the Miami Heat's first-round pick they were alternatively offered in the Kevin Love trade. Obviously, that deal was worth it no matter what, considering Wiggins is already a stud. But if the Wolves wanted to make it better, you have to imagine they would rather get that first-rounder from Miami, add on a little more youth and move on from there. Instead, they received Young, who they flipped for KG's presence (not KG, KG's presence). And maybe they're happy about that. But the "What if" question certainly deserves to be asked.
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