For those of you who have been closely following the aptly titled “Jon Koncak Commemorative Awards,” courtesy of Bloguin's own TheRealShaq, you have been treated to a classic slew of epically terrible deals from equally terrible players. While the list is full of NBA eyesores, I thought for our first of a few TWB contributions to the series that I would take a wholly different, and controversial approach: the somewhat crucifixion of Kevin Garnett. The timing (1997) of his contract is admittedly breaking the rules of the series, but given the name and controversy behind the post, an exception was granted.
Now before you take your computer or portable handheld device, heave it out the window, run it over with a car, and stick the remains on a cargo ship headed to Guam, let’s take a collective Oliver Miller-sized step back and discuss the fundamental “realities” behind that one ex-girlfriend Timberwolves fans simply cannot get over.
First and foremost, this write-up is not intended to flame Garnett’s obvious impeccable basketball ability, nor the awe-inspiring impact he had on Minnesota and NBA history. This series is titled “Contracts that Ruined the NBA,” and as such even the most nauseating of Minnesota-based Garnett apologists (you know who you are) should understand the reality behind the impact of Garnett’s contract(s). We all know he is a future Hall-of-Famer who was the heart and soul of Minneapolis for many years. Regardless of any forthcoming negative comment, KG is still missed and that’s that.
Onward with negativity, and completing the Antoine Walker gambling dept-sized step back, let’s take a trip back to 1997, when “’Mo Money, ‘Mo Problems” and “Return of the Mack” were Grammy contenders. Kevin Garnett, Tom Gugliotta and Stephon Marbury were forming a fantastic, yet ultimately short lived, title-contending trio. Garnett was in talks for a contract extension to keep him in Minnesota for years to come after showing enough promise in his first couple of years to demonstrate star potential. The first deal on the table was, from memory, about 6-years and $105 million. Seeing as though that was not enough money, Garnett and his agent demanded more and ultimately “settled” at a then-record-setting contract extension of 6-years and $126 million. This would not be altogether too shocking in the modern-day NBA, however during the 1997 season this was an unprecedented amount. Fans rejoiced that the franchise savior was here to stay. However, the media was a bit more critical and suggested a supporting cast would never exist and that Garnett and the Wolves would be doomed to mediocrity. While it was not all KG's fault in the slightest, they ended up being exactly right.
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