By Stephen Litel
When the season began, I thought there would be no way that the Timberwolves could have a worse season then last year. With the additions of Mike James, and rookies Randy Foye and Craig Smith, they would surely be closer to fighting for a playoff berth.
Yet, with last night's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota ended their 2006-07 season with one less loss then last year... and with more questions then ever before.
Will Randy Wittman, who has acquired a 12-30 record since replacing Dwane Casey, really return next season as head coach? What has he done to deserve to keep his job?
Although Randy Foye showed glimpses of great play throughout the season, can he truly be an NBA point guard?
Will Craig Smith learn from his rookie year and find ways to continue his own growth as a solid role player for this team?
Can Rashad McCants fully heal over the summer and come back next year, ready to live up to expectations?
Will Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marko Jaric, Bracey Wright, and Trenton Hassell even be on this team next year?
How can Glen Taylor afford to keep Kevin McHale employed?
...and, have we already seen Kevin Garnett's last game as a member of the Timberwolves?
Right now, nobody knows the answers to any of these questions. This off-season is obviously the most important in the history of the franchise as they must decide if they will trade their superstar or try to build around him one last time before his patience completely wears off.
Stay tuned, Wolves fans. This will either be an incredibly busy summer for this team or the silence will be deafening. A summer that brings the same team (along with the player chosen in the draft), will be the Timberwolves officially announcing that they do not care about the product they put out to the public.
We can only hope that the press conference Wednesday will be Kevin McHale finally announcing he is quitting. I'm won't hold my breath, but one can dream.
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It truly was a sad sight in the locker room after the game. Watching players give their final interviews, seeing the lockers being packed up for the summer and, of course, the absence of Kevin Garnett truly gave the finality of the moment. Players exchanged phone numbers, addresses and plans as to when they would hook up over the summer while filing out one by one, some not knowing if they would ever play together as teammates again.
At the very least, as I have stated all year, a vast majority of these players are friends off the court. The problem? Most are not friends with Kevin Garnett. Throughout the season, there was never a sense that Garnett himself was a member of this "team." He did his own thing, separate from the rest, leading by example on the court while allowing the dysfunction to continue off the court.
But, can you really blame him? After all, Kevin Garnett will go down as one of the greatest power forwards in the history of the NBA, his career is beginning to wind down and these are the best teammates that management can give him to work with?
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This is also a goodbye for me as this will be my final post for City Pages. I would like to thank City Pages for the opportunity and Corey Anderson for his faith and guidance. I have been allowed to continue my growth as a writer and am incredibly grateful.
I also would like to thank my readers. It is because of my relationship with you that I truly enjoy this opportunity that I have been given. You keep me on my toes, never letting me slide with half-assed work and let me know when you disagree with my takes. That is what is wonderful about sports. We all can watch the same thing, but depending on where you sit in the arena, how intently you watch on television or how rose-colored your glasses may be, we all have different thoughts and it has been wonderful to share mine with you and to hear yours.
As I now move on to another forum, I hope that you, my readers, will join me. Be assured that I will be around and if you truly want to find me, you know how to get in touch with me.
By Stephen Litel