By Fred Kerber
New York Post
MINNEAPOLIS - Vince Carter has seen, heard and lived what Kevin Garnett is experiencing here.
Garnett is the superstar carrying a franchise. He has known moments of glory, but they have been all too few. Now, though, losing is near constant. Losing will erode anyone and so, the theory is, Garnett is worn down, lacking passion. But Carter disagrees.
"No way. Not him. He might be frustrated, but the passion? No. He loves to play," Carter said before the Nets faced Garnett and the Timberwolves (24-32 and sitting in 12th place in the West) here last night. "From knowing him, playing against him from high school, hes one of the most competitive guys I know. He plays hard every night. Hes frustrated."
Sound familiar? The same was said about Carter in Toronto. When he was dealt to the Nets, Carter was rejuvenated. Maybe Garnett needs similar medicine.
"Tough to say. They have to make a commitment to get some guys around him," Carter said. "But if they feel they cant resolve it, maybe its best to move on. Its one of those things where you try to do whatever you can, yet your passion is called into question."
It has been widely speculated that Garnett sees a dead-end in Minnesota and will ask out. The Twolves could begin rebuilding by dealing him this summer. But Garnett always has maintained his preference to stay. He insisted just Tuesday that he is not about to flee a difficult situation.
"Im never going to give up on something just because times are tough. Thats [being] a coward. Thats not even in me," Garnett told reporters in Chicago.
Carter admits he is puzzled by the origins of such theories, especially with Garnett. Case in point: Garnett shot 10 of 16, scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Minnesotas 111-100 victory over the Bulls that night.
"Its just how it goes sometimes," Carter said of the charges of disinterest. "I hope he understands that. The important thing is he comes out and plays hard regardless. Some people are still going to question that, and some wont."
Tim Thomas was waived by the Bulls yesterday and expected to sign in Phoenix, where Jim Jackson was cut to make room.
"We lost out; its unfortunate, but we have the team we have and have to keep going forward," said Jason Kidd.
The Nets have no interest in Jackson or others who were waived, said president Rod Thorn, who doubted the Nets will add anyone soon.
"Theres nobody out there right now [that] we see for 10-day [contracts], other than filling a suit," he said. Added GM Ed Stefanski: "Were reviewing all options [but] we dont see anybody jumping off the page at us."
Bulls GM John Paxson insisted Thomas "can go anywhere . . . weve told him, do whatever you want. "
Jeff McInnis (left- knee surgery, Jan. 19) is feeling "great," and has increased rehab; his return is matter of getting in shape. "Ive just got to lose some weight," McInnis said. "Its not really about my knee [any]more," said McInnis.
Cliff Robinson played, despite achy back.