Monthly Archives: July 2007

KG Thoughts

So yes, it’s official: Kevin Garnett is a Celtic. He’s a great player, a future Hall of Famer, and the only Wolves player whose jersey I’ve ever bought. I’m going to miss him, of course. But I do know that the Wolves weren’t going anywhere in their current state, and that a nuking of the roster was necessary.
There is something that bothers me though, in the reaction to the trade from local and national media, which represents the absolute worst impulses of anti-small market prejudice and “East Coast bias.” It’s the idea that KG was finally “rescued” from Minnesota, where he has “wasted his career,” and now he’ll be in the “spotlight.” Because after all, he “owed it to himself” to get out of such a “backwater.” Now, he’s finally on the East Coast, where “basketball matters,” and where he can finally be “relevant.”
Please. We’ve been hearing this for years from big city sportswriters absolutely bewildered that KG wouldn’t want to beg out of the Twin Cities at the earliest opportunity to go to a “real city” (i.e., their city.) Numerous Chicago columnists, especially the Tribune’s Sam Smith, have been the worst offenders, believing that they deserve Garnett in their city because, after all, “he’s from Chicago” (no, he’s from South Carolina, and spent one year of high school in Chicago, but what’s the difference?) Laughing at Sam Smith has been one of the better aspects of this generally sad day (he whines here.)
Listen: KG stayed in Minnesota years longer than most superstars would have, even signing two separate long-term extensions. Any other superstar of his stature would’ve bailed out years ago, likely demanding a trade in the most public manner possible, refusing to report to training camp, or simply leaving as a free agent. Garnett never did that. Why? Perhaps, loyalty. Perhaps – and I know this was a shocker- he was actually happy in Minnesota. Maybe he likes his house. Maybe his wife likes living there. Maybe he enjoyed being the greatest player in the history of a franchise. Maybe, just because a bunch of middle-aged newspaper columnists in New York, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere see Minnesota as an uncultured backwater doesn’t mean he believes it is too. And maybe it wasn’t such a tragedy against the sanctity of the game of basketball that Kevin Garnett played the first 12 years of his career there.
So Garnett will go to Boston, and I wish him well. But I don’t see how his career should somehow be cheapened because he spent the bulk of it on a non-“marquee” team. Does Tim Duncan’s career have less legitimately because he played all of it in San Antonio, as opposed to Boston or New York or LA?
UPDATE: And Boston got Eric Gagne too! He’s the third most valuable acquisition of the day, after Kevin Garnett and the Wall Street Journal.

Antonioni, RIP

In the second death of a major European director in as many days, Michelangelo Antonioni died this morning at the age of 94. He directed an all-time great film- 1966’s “Blow Up,” as well as inspiring perhaps the funniest moment of my five years in New York.
What a week for celebrity deaths- already Antonioni, Bergman, Bill Walsh, Tom Snyder, Bill Robinson… Who’s next? My money’s on Amy Winehouse.

I’m So There

News Item: Led Zeppelin may reunite for tour in 2008
Now granted, these are very much unconfirmed reports. Plus, we’re looking at $200 a ticket, minimum. Plus, the drummer’s dead. Plus, they may be a bit rusty, since they last toured during the Carter Administration. But still, it’s Led Zeppelin. How often does one of your favorite bands go on tour for the first time since you were two years old?

Goodbye, KG?

The Boston papers, and ESPN, are reporting that Kevin Garnett is heading to the Celtics. The deal, according to the Boston Herald, would give the Celtics KG in exchange for Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes and Theo Ratliff (who, two years ago, changed his name to “Theo Ratliff’s Expiring Contract.”) The Wolves will also get a #1 pick.
Can it be a “good trade for both teams” if it’s consummated by two of the worst GMs in the league? Perhaps it can, or perhaps it can’t. The deal, if finished, would give the Wolves an actual young core (Jefferson, Green, Gomes, Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, Rashard McCants, Craig Smith), while it gives Boston a veteran nucleus (KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen), along with a handful of young players, and no depth whatsoever. Could work for Celts, but it also sounds an awful lot like the Iverson + Webber + table scraps version of the Sixers two years ago, and all know how that turned out.
I do like that the Wolves are rebuilding, and besides, throughout sports history 6-for-1 deals have generally favored the team getting the big package (for Minnesota examples, see “Walker, Herschel” and “Viola, Frank.”) My biggest complaint about the deal from the Wolves’ standpoint, aside from the fact that they lose the best player in franchise history, is that they dump no bad contracts- they’re still stuck with Marko Jaric, Troy Hudson and Mark Blount. Also, doesn’t this leave them with twice as many players as will fit on an NBA roster? Aside from that, I suppose this is the best they could probably manage. Can’t wait to see the resulting Bill Simmons column.