For Kevin Garnett, the end to a brilliant career?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Zgoda, who has long covered the Timberwolves for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sunday's game provides an opportunity to take a look at the greatest player in Minnesota's history, but one who won't be on the court or likely in the arena: Kevin Garnett.

Zgoda talks to the two men who made the decision to draft a skinny 19-year-old high school player 19 years ago, how one workout changed their minds on him and the franchise's history.

(Flip) Saunders and (Kevin) McHale entered a gym at the University of Illinois-Chicago that day prepared to praise Garnett afterward regardless of his performance, hoping their words would convince one of four teams ahead of the Wolves to take the kid so Joe Smith, Anthony McDyess, Jerry Stackhouse or Rasheed Wallace would drop to them with the fifth pick in the draft.

"About two minutes in, I turned to Kevin and said, ‘You know, we better hope he’s there at No. 5,’ " Saunders said.

Now, however, Zgoda wonders how much time KG has left.

Nearly 20 years later, Garnett’s body finally appears to be showing its age. In his first season with a Brooklyn team that acquired him and Paul Pierce from Boston last summer, he has missed 16 games, the last 15 consecutively because of back spasms that will keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves.

There's no indication whether Garnett is thinking about retiring. He has admitted he considered ending his contract last summer before he, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry were traded to Brooklyn. As Zgoda says, "he has 12 million reasons to fulfill it, even if his aging body doesn’t cooperate."

Jason Kidd has promised an update on both Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko's conditions later Sunday, but as Zgoda writes it's not about the immediate future.  "The clock, he writes, ticks on future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett’s career with every measured stride he manages during an injury-interrupted 19th NBA season."

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