Minnesota Star Tribune has an interesting story today with some quotes from the Timberwolves owner on current and past Wolves. The most interesting of which is this:
"I'm just saying there was probably more to it that had to do with Wally that we have chosen not to talk about," Taylor said. ". . . I am just going to say that no matter what I say, people are going to deny it. But I would say some things came to a head that forced us to get into something we didn't necessarily want to do. I think it would have been pretty dangerous for Kevin McHale not to do the trade."
So what was Wally doing that was dangerous to the team? He seems to be the perfect teammate in Boston and has, on the outside anyway, gotten along with everyone since his trade. The article went on to say:
But few around the Wolves on a regular basis failed to see the uneasy alliance, at best, between Szczerbiak and Kevin Garnett. It dated probably as far back as 1999, when Szczerbiak, just out of college, was added to the Team USA qualifying team on which Garnett played. Several members of that squad didn't like playing with ultra-confident Szczerbiak and reportedly razzed Garnett about his team's new lottery pick.
A locker-room skirmish, with Garnett punching Szczerbiak an hour after a perceived slight on the practice court flushed the tension into the open. An ESPN magazine piece cited more Szczerbiak critics within the Wolves' ranks. After which, the matter was repeatedly downplayed and denied. Season after season after season.
I remember the fight between the two but didn't pay much attention to it. After all, Blount and Ricky came to blows here in Boston. But then, who in Boston didn't want to deck Ole Stonehands Blount?
As last season's 12-6 record started to unravel, Szczerbiak grew less willing to defer to Garnett. He was ready to meet any friction head-on, a line in the sand that would have polarized the locker room and shredded any pretense of chemistry. The trade did enough damage in those areas, but the team's two best players, throwing down? Intolerable.
The question here is, was it Wally or Garnett who was actually causing the friction? Everyone in the league has been lusting after the day when Garnett would be available in a trade or free agency. Is he the type of player that has to be top dog and everyone else fall in behind? Wally doesn't seem to be that way here. He seems to want to fit in and just do whatever he can to help the team. He has very willingly taken a back seat to Pierce. Was Wally really so bad that they were willing to take Blount in exchange?
Could it be that Garnett demanded that Wally be traded as Kobe did with Shaq? We all know how that one worked out. Would Garnett fit into another system if traded? While I am one of those who has dreamt of KG in a Celtics uniform, it may good to pay attention to the old addage: Be careful what you wish for.
I'm happy with Wally here. I think he's getting along really well with all our teammates. I don't think he's a bad attitude like we found out Ricky was last yaer (though I had no idea). I actually see Wally being a better fit for our uptempo team than Pierce.
I honestly don't believe that Ricky was that bad. Pierce had Ricky on his team in his summer game. He has also said once that he really liked Ricky. If Ricky was undermining him and causing problems I don't think Paul would defend him. Ricky said that the reports that he caused trouble here were heartbreaking because he did everything they asked of him and tried really hard to do well here. I believe him. I think the reports of Ricky being a problem were just the Celtics propaganda machine trying to make the trade look better. They did that with Al's ankle and with the Telfair thing. I really don't believe it.