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OutletPass
05-19-2003, 10:45 AM
KG and Juwan Howard changing addresses?
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider

With only four teams left in the playoffs, the rumor mill is beginning to churn. From draft rumors, to big trades, to top-tier free agents starting to feel out the market, the phone lines are finally heating up again. Is KG on the block?

We've been inundated with Kevin Garnett rumors (mostly to the Bulls) for the past couple of years. The Wolves' seventh straight first-round playoff exit, combined with Garnett's refusal to sign a contract extension, is only fueling the fire. But to this point, the Wolves have steadfastly maintained they would never trade Garnett. Any potential trade scenario for KG was never really much more than a pipe dream. But owner Glen Taylor's slight hedge last week may have changed all that. Was Taylor sending a message to the other 28 teams in the NBA that KG was no longer untouchable?

"The only way we would probably trade him is if Kevin said that he really thought that was the best thing for him, or something like that," Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It would have to be built on something I couldn't even think of right now. We don't want to, and I don't think he would want to, but that would be the scenario, I suppose. I don't think I would necessarily accept that just because he said that. But that's a possibility."

While Taylor insisted he believes Garnett wants to retire in a T-Wolves uniform, you can understand why the team is worried. Garnett wants to see significant upgrades this offseason, and that's almost impossible given the Wolves' current salary situation. They're capped out, above the luxury-tax threshold and have to work out a contract for Rasho Nesterovic this summer. While they'd love to add a veteran like Gary Payton or Karl Malone, the chances of a top free agent taking less money to play in Minnesota are slim. Last time we checked, they aren't the Lakers.

So ... let the speculation begin. Insider started the ball rolling last month with a plausible trade scenario involving the Bulls. Chicago Tribune writer Sam Smith resurrected that idea today, claiming the T-Wolves might just pull the trigger on a KG trade if the Bulls would send them Jay Williams, Tyson Chandler, Jalen Rose, Eddie Robinson and Chicago's first-round pick (provided it's not the No. 1 or 2 overall pick).

That's a sweetheart deal for the Wolves, who would end up with essentially three lottery picks and a borderline all-star for Garnett. It won't get any better than that. Smith claims the Bulls could contend for the NBA Finals with a lineup of Jamal Crawford, Trenton Hassell, Donyell Marshall, Garnett and Eddy Curry. That may be a stretch, but if Crawford and Curry keep up the learning curve, it's not out of the question.

Meanwhile, the Wolves would sport a team of Williams, Rose, Wally Szczerbiak, Chandler and Nesterovic with a lottery pick (someone like Mickael Pietrus, Chris Kaman, Dwyane Wade or Michael Sweetney), Troy Hudson and Joe Smith coming off the bench. That isn't too shabby either.
The Bulls aren't the only team with enough talent to get the T-Wolves interested. The Pacers could work out a sign-and-trade that would ship Jermaine O'Neal, Al Harrington, Jamaal Tinsley, Ron Mercer and Fred Jones to Minnesota.

The Mavs could offer a combination of Michael Finley, Raef LaFrentz and Nick Van Exel for Garnett.

And the Blazers could offer Rasheed Wallace, Zach Randolph, Derek Anderson and their first-round pick. All of the trades would give Minnesota more depth, but none of them has the upside of keeping Garnett and adding another top player to the mix. But if Kevin McHale can't make it happen, all are better scenarios than losing KG for nothing next summer.

Speaking of the T-Wolves ...

The Wolves may not be able to land a big-name free agent this summer, but there is a trade out there that makes some sense for them. Last summer, the Wolves put on the full-court press for Lakers small forward Devean George, a Minnesota native. But George ultimately opted to rejoin the Lakers after he was promised a bigger role on the team.

George didn't develop at the rate he or the Lakes wanted this season, and it looks like he needs a change of scenery. Enter the T-Wolves. The team is still high on him, and it may have the perfect trade bait -- Joe Smith. Smith has collapsed under the weight of undue expectations in Minnesota. He has struggled to live up to the plethora of first-round draft picks the Wolves were forced to surrender after they worked out an under-the-table agreement for Smith.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor seems to have soured a bit on Smith, and a trade for George would allow Garnett to move back to power forward full time. "At the time we brought him back, we saw the potential of Joe," Taylor told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "At this particular point, he hasn't lived up to that. Do I still think he can? Inside of me, I think he can. But so much of that is up to Joe. I hesitate to wait until next year to find that out. Perhaps if he is doing things during the summer, we've got to look at them and get him to do some other things because it's been too many years that he has come in and gotten injured, so I don't think he's doing the right things. Or else he's not doing enough things.

"Either way, I think he's got to change his schedule this summer. We want him to get on weight and strength and practice programs that might be more consistent with what we would ask him to do. But quite frankly, I thought we asked him to do that last year, too." While Smith wouldn't be a savior in L.A., he still has the chance to be very good in the right system. With a more physical, dominant center like Shaquille O'Neal handling the dirty work in the paint, Smith would be free to play his more finesse game around the basket.

Combine Smith with a nice free-agent signing like Juwan Howard, and the Lakers could be back in business next season.

Speaking of Juwan Howard ...

Howard's agent, David Falk, said he thought his client would be a perfect fit in L.A. next year. "The Lakers would be a great situation for him," Falk told the Los Angeles Times. "Not the only situation, but a great one. (The Lakers) have to cross some bridges first. Having lost, they need to evaluate." Howard, who made $20.6 million this season, would have to take a major paycut to play for the Lakers next season. The most the Lakers could offer him is the mid-level exception (about $4.9 million next season).

"I think Juwan and some very good players are going to have to make quality-of-life decisions," Falk told the paper. "Juwan is 30. He's made a lot of money. He has the wherewithal to make any decision he's comfortable with. There are things in life you can't buy. Championships are one of them. ... (Howard) could be making a decision for a ring over a check."

Howard has been a little less upfront about his intentions. He wrote on his Web site (www.juwanhoward.com) that winning is his No. 1 goal next season. "All season long I have faced the question of where I want to play next season," Howard wrote. "Well, everyone knows how badly I want to be in a winning situation. I want to have a chance to make it to the playoffs and win a title just like every other player. I would like to be part of a team that is moving in that direction. I want to give Denver a try, if I see that they are making the effort to build a winning team.

"Two very big factors that will decide whether or not I'll re-sign with Denver are the issue of free agents and trades that they make. ... I have heard all of the rumors about teams such as Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers that might have an interest in signing or trading someone to acquire me for next season. I won't say that I don't like to hear things like that. It always feels good to know that teams are interested in having you on their roster. I'm pretty sure that all players love to read rumors about teams that are interested in them. Also, the teams that I've heard about that want me are definitely contenders. Rumors will always circulate, but as I said before nothing will be decided until July 1st."

Coaching carousel on hold

What's taking the Cavs, Raptors and Wizards so long to make their coaching decisions? They're all waiting to see what happens May 22 during the NBA Draft Lottery. All three know they'll have a much easier time landing a big-time coach if they land the first or second pick in the draft. Coaches like Jeff Van Gundy and Paul Silas have expressed interest in the jobs but don't want to commit until they have a good handle on who will be playing there next season. If either Cleveland or Toronto land LeBron James, look for Van Gundy and Silas to suddenly get much more interested.

No interest in Horry

I got a call from a source inside the Grizzlies on Friday claiming the team never had interest in trading for Robert Horry in February. A Lakers source had told Insider on Thursday that coach Phil Jackson had vetoed a trade that would've sent Horry, Samaki Walker, Tracy Murray and Mark Madsen to Memphis for Lorenzen Wright and Stromile Swift. The thinking was the Grizzlies would make such a trade to clear around $12 million off their cap for the summer of 2004.

However, the Grizzlies source told Insider they never seriously discussed any deal with the Lakers before the trade deadline. The source also claimed Swift is no longer on the trading block. The team was impressed with his play during the second half of the season and now believes he could be a big-time player next season.

Drbio
05-19-2003, 10:59 AM
<< The Mavs could offer a combination of Michael Finley, Raef LaFrentz and Nick Van Exel for Garnett. >>




Whatever it takes to pair KG and Dirk. If that could happen, noone on the roster, no draft picks, toss in money etc would be too steep a price IMO.

OutletPass
05-19-2003, 11:53 AM
The whole thing is very &quot;iffy&quot;...

but I agree with Doc...I'd KILL to see KG and Dirk at the forwards

LRB
05-19-2003, 11:59 AM
Definitely something the Mavs should pursue, even if it is &quot;iffy&quot;.


Now here's a question. What a bout a Shaq for KG trade? Anyone think that this might be a possibility?

OutletPass
05-19-2003, 12:01 PM
No, no and No.

Shaq would never go....bet he'd retire before this happens.

Bright lights, big city only for the Big Arthritic.

LRB
05-19-2003, 12:02 PM
I sure hope you're right OP.

Drbio
05-19-2003, 12:03 PM
Gotta agree with OP. I doubt Shaq would go.

aexchange
05-19-2003, 12:20 PM
shaq has stated on record the only other team he would even consider playing for is the Mavs.

Ummmmm Ok
05-19-2003, 12:38 PM
<< shaq has stated on record the only other team he would even consider playing for is the Mavs. >>



Than would you trade Dirk for Shaq and pick up Malone for the MLE and be guaranteed to have 2 rings but to rebuild when shaq and malone retire?

LRB
05-19-2003, 12:41 PM
<<

<< shaq has stated on record the only other team he would even consider playing for is the Mavs. >>



Than would you trade Dirk for Shaq and pick up Malone for the MLE and be guaranteed to have 2 rings but to rebuild when shaq and malone retire? >>



Nope. Not certain that we could get Malone. And more importantly, very uncertain about how much more Shaq has left in the tank. He's getting fatter, having health problems, and just doesn't show a great desire to keep going IMO.

nowitzki_prophecy
05-19-2003, 12:48 PM
i doubt the T-Puppies would go for a Shaq for KG trade.
shaq is what 32?they're looking ahead for a strong franchise,and all shaq can do is guarentee a couple of good,may i add championship-less,years(he cant win a championship all by himself anymore.
if they're trading KG,its for several options,or a big one who they know would be good for alot of years to come(Dirk,Kobe,TD,Tracy).