Garnett's criticism of McHale, team organization overshadows win
Three weeks into the season, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett criticized the team's key management decisions involving former...
MINNEAPOLIS — Three weeks into the season, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett criticized the team's key management decisions involving former coach Flip Saunders and veterans Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell.
During an interview with TNT taped a day before Thursday's 109-98 Timberwolves victory over the Washington Wizards at Target Center, a frustrated Garnett said the situations should have been handled better.
Sprewell wasn't re-signed during free agency, and Cassell was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in August. Saunders was fired in February.
Garnett also said vice president Kevin McHale, who took over as interim coach after firing Saunders in February, wanted to coach but not accept some of the responsibilities that came with that.
Garnett said those issues should have been handled differently, and if they had been, Saunders might still be coaching the team today. The All-Star did not say specifically how those issues should have been handled. Garnett said it all starts at the top of the organization and mentioned owner Glen Taylor as well.
After totaling 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, Garnett didn't back down from his comments. He said team management knows his thoughts on those issues.
"I feel like I wasn't out of line or anything," Garnett said after the game. "I didn't feel like I disrespected anybody."
Garnett's comments reflect decisions made during last season and the offseason regarding Cassell and Sprewell. However, Garnett was not critical of his current teammates or coach Dwane Casey.
And Casey said Garnett has not given him any problems.
"There has been not one negative thing about KG," Casey, an ex-Sonics assistant, said in response to the pregame comments. "I love the guy."
Garnett's statements to TNT were perhaps most critical of McHale. After the game, Garnett offered an apology if he offended anyone and said that wasn't his intent. But he reasserted that he didn't think McHale wanted to handle the responsibilities of managing players.
"Kev has a very, very high basketball IQ, but at the same time managing and keeping egos in check, I don't think he wants to do that," Garnett said. "He'll tell you that. ... He didn't want the responsibility. But you ask anybody in here, Kevin McHale helps each and every last one of us, guard, forward, center, he helps you with your game. He knows this game inside and out. I feel like that's his strong point. But to sit here and go through plays and deal with us every day, I don't think he wants to do that."
McHale said after the game that he had not heard the interview with Garnett. But he said he knows Garnett is frustrated.
"There's a lot of uneasiness as far as a lot of change and a lot of this stuff, and he's trying to feel his way through like everybody is," McHale said.
Informed of Garnett's comments to TNT, McHale said: "He's right about that, I didn't want to coach. It's just at that point, I felt the ship was taking on water at a rapid rate, and the season was getting ready to slip away and change was needed."
McHale added he thinks he took on the responsibility of taking over the coaching position. The Timberwolves missed the playoffs a year after reaching the Western Conference finals.
"I took the responsibility of the team last year," McHale said. "The way we were playing, I didn't think it was fair to put it on anybody else either."
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