'Wolves still trying to move past Garnett

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'Wolves still trying to move past Garnett

Kevin Garnett came to the Boston Celtics in 2007 and took the city by storm.

Four years later, his impact is still felt in the place he called home for 12 seasons . . . nearly 1,500 miles away.

I still see KG jerseys on the street in Minnesota, said Minnesota Timberwolves rookie and 2011 second overall draft pick Derrick Williams. Hes left a big stamp right there in the whole state.

As Garnett looks to capture his second championship with the Celtics, the Timberwolves continue to look to rebuild. They won just 32 games in Garnett's final season with the team and have not won more than 24 in any single season since his departure.

No one is expecting them to replace Garnett, but with 23-year-old All-Star Kevin Love leading the squad, the Timberwolves have an incoming group of fresh talent Williams believes can help turn things around.

Theyre looking for the next team, the next couple guys that can help turn that whole team around, Williams, 20, recently told CSNNE.com. I think with the class that we have coming in with Ricky Rubio, myself, (rookie) Malcolm Lee from UCLA, and the guys that we currently have, we could have a pretty good chance to do good things this year.

But before the Timberwolves can build together on the court, they will have to wait during the NBA lockout---a challenge for this young team. While the veteran Celtics core of Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo have over 50 offseasons of preparation between them, rookies like Williams dont have proven strategies under their belts yet.

I think with the vets, its a little different because they know what it takes to be successful in the league, he said. Theyve put in those hours, theyve put in the years to be great players. We dont know yet. We dont know yet if were working hard enough to be successful in this league. Well just continue to keep working out and hopefully all this time and all these hours weve put in will translate to the court.

So what can Celtics fans expect when the Timberwolves come to town?

Were all going to come ready to play, Williams said. If they dont come ready to play, we can win those games. I think we have a good chance this season just because we are a young, athletic team that can get up and down the court that can really test those guys on the Celtics. So hopefully we can do that, run and gun, and we can get there and we can win a couple games.

Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

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Horford believes Celtics give him best chance at 'ultimate goal' of NBA Championship

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Pinpointing the exact moment Al Horford made up his mind to become a Boston Celtics isn’t clear, but the seeds of that decision can be traced back to last year’s playoffs – and no we’re not talking about the playoff series between Boston and Atlanta, either.
 
It was the Hawk’s second-round playoff series back in May against Cleveland, a team that swept them out of the Conference finals in 2015 and did so again last about five months ago.
 
Horford had every intention of returning to Atlanta, but as the free agency period wore on two things became quite clear: Winning an NBA title would have to go through Cleveland and it happening with him in Atlanta was becoming more and more unlikely.
 
In came the Celtics with a pitch that was heavy on present-day and down-the-road potential that wouldn’t require him to do anything other than continue to play the way he has for the past nine seasons.
 
“It (becoming a Celtic) became real for me real late and real quick,” Horford told CSNNE.com on Wednesday.
 
After mulling it over for a couple days, Horford said he was ready to become a Celtic.
 
“This could be a great opportunity even though I’m leaving a lot behind,” Horford said.
 
As you listen to Horford speak, it’s clear that the Celtics mystique played a role in his decision to sign with Boston.

 But as much as the Celtics’ lore and its on-the-rise status helped, there were certain events that Boston had no control over that actually helped their cause.
 
First the Hawks got in on a three-team trade in June with Utah and Indiana which sent Hawks All-Star point guard Jeff Teague to the Pacers while Atlanta received Utah’s first-round pick which was 12th overall and was used by Atlanta to select Baylor’s Taurean Prince. The move allowed Atlanta’s Dennis Schroeder to slide over into the now-vacant starting point guard position.
 
While it may help Atlanta down the road, it did little to move them closer towards knocking off Cleveland anytime soon.
 
And then there was the Hawks coming to terms on a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Dwight Howard early in the free agency period. That deal coupled with Atlanta’s desire to bring Kent Bazemore back, cast serious doubt as to whether Horford would return.
 
Horford, who inked a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston, told CSNNE.com that at the time of Atlanta’s deal with Howard, he was still open to the idea of returning.
 
But if Horford did, he knew figuring out the best way to play him, Howard and Paul Millsap who by the way has a player option that he’s likely to exercise which would make him a free agent next summer, was not going to be easy.

“It was definitely going to be different,” Horford said, then adding, “For me, the Celtics were becoming more and more a realistic option. After talking with my family, we felt this was the best for me.”
 
And while it’s still very early in his tenure as a Celtic, Horford has no regrets or second thoughts about his decision.
 
“As a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”
 
And that alone makes him a good fit with this franchise which from ownership to the front office to the coaching staff and of course the players, are all focused on one thing and that’s bringing home Banner 18.
 
 “Look at the resume. He’s been a winner wherever he’s played,” said Boston’s Amir Johnson. “It’s good to have a guy like that, with his talent and with his winning, playing next to you.”