<
>

Garnett angered by rumors, not unhappy with Wolves

Kevin Garnett has been through a lot in Minnesota, and he's not about to let the media tell him what he should be doing with his career.

On Sunday, the former MVP squashed rumors of his discontent in Minnesota and suggestions that he'd be better off searching for a championship elsewhere.

"I've never said I [was] unhappy," Garnett said after the Timberwolves beat the Philadelphia 76ers 95-84. "I don't know where y'all get that [expletive] from. None of y'all have asked me that."

The team's lack of success in Garnett's 11 seasons in Minnesota -- they've won just two playoff series -- has led many to propose that it's time for a change of scenery for the beleaguered perennial All-Star. Though Garnett won't use the word "unhappy," he made no secret about where the criticism for the Timberwolves' struggles should be directed.

"People feel sorry for me?" Garnett said. "I don't go out and scout players. I don't do any of the front office stuff. This thing's bigger than Kevin Garnett. I'm a piece, but ... I don't want nobody to feel sorry for me. I bust my [butt] to come in and be consistent every year. If you want to feel sorry for somebody, feel sorry for the people who put the team together and haven't put me in a position to be in those situations. Don't feel sorry for me."

The Timberwolves front office has faced plenty of criticism for its decisions in Garnett's tenure, most notably the illegal contract deal reached with Joe Smith which cost the team $3.5 million in fines and four first-round draft picks.

Fiercely loyal, Garnett has opted twice to re-sign with the Timberwolves rather than explore other options. And even though jumping ship to win a title sounds great, Garnett said Sunday there are no sure things.

"There isn't any guarantee that you're going to win if you go to a new team," Garnett said. "The teams that are supposed to be the best in the West, some of those teams are dealing with some of the things we're dealing with: chemistry, ball movement, all that stuff. That's around the league."

Those contracts Garnett signed, though, have locked up more than $200 million of the franchise's money and have made it difficult for the team to bring in other free agents to help the cornerstone.

"People feel sorry for me? I don't go out and scout players. I don't do any of the front office stuff. This thing's bigger than Kevin Garnett."
-- Kevin Garnett

The Wolves tried in 2003-04 by splurging to bring in veterans Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell. The plan worked initially, as Minnesota finished the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference, but a back injury limited Cassell's effectiveness and eventually forced him out of the conference finals where the team lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

That was the first time in eight playoff appearances where the Wolves had won a series, and they haven't returned to the postseason since.

Garnett, 30, is signed with the Wolves through the 2007-08 season with a player option for 2008-09.

The Wolves improved to 7-9 with Sunday's win and are six games out of first place in the Northwest Division.