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Sam Mitchell: How Timberwolves fired me, Milt Newton upset Kevin Garnett

Minnesota Timberwolves v Miami Heat

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 17: Kevin Garnett #21 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on November 17, 2015 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice: (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Kevin Garnett endorsed Sam Mitchell as Timberwolves coach.

Minnesota fired Mitchell (and general Milton Newton), anyway.

How does that impact Garnett’s decision whether or not to retire?

Mitchel on SiriusXM NBA Radio (hat tip: Zach Harper of”

Last time I talked to him, he hadn’t made up his mind yet.

And I just think a lot of things – the way last year ended with the owner at the very last minute. And people don’t understand this. We all felt pretty good about us – myself and Milt Newton and the staff, coaching staff – we felt pretty good about us coming back. We felt like we did a good enough job to at least earn us a couple of years, a year or two, to try to see if we could keep that thing rolling.

And I just think KG was just so hurt by the way things happened. I haven’t talked about it, but to get a call, for people to send you messages as if you were going to be back and your staff was going to be back – and we had everything going in the right direction – and to get a phone call two hours before your last game basically saying, “I’ve changed my mind, and I’m going in a different direction,” it just kind of knocked us all for a loop.

We’ve all recovered from it and moved on, but if you know Kevin, Kevin is very sensitive, and he’s very loyal. And there was a lot of people in that organization that was let go, and the way it was done just left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouth and especially his. And to be honest with you, I don’t know how he’s going to deal with that, because Kevin takes that stuff personal. It’s going to be interesting to see ultimately what he decides to do.

And it’s a shame that, if he doesn’t come back and play, that his last year in Minnesota ended the way it did.

It’s self-serving and unfair for Mitchell to present this to the public. If Mitchell’s ouster is so important to Garnett, let Garnett say that. Now, Garnett would look disloyal if he returns.

Still, it’s possible the coaching situation could factor into Garnett’s decision.

Garnett certainly hasn’t gotten what he bargained for when he returned to Minnesota. He wanted to play for Flip Saunders then maybe own the team with Saunders. Sadly, Saunders died in October.

Mitchell might have provided something meaningful to Garnett. They’re friends and former teammates. As Mitchell said, Garnett is loyal (though it’s worth noting new Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau was a Celtics assistant when Garnett played in Boston).

But, at most, this is surely one of numerous factors Garnett is weighing. And that’s at most.