Jonathon Givony of citizen-based scouting giant DraftExpress says a Kevin Garnett to Sacramento rumor heated up towards the end of the recently wrapped-up Orlando pre-draft camp.
Givony - who I would place on the Believability Scale somewhere above Peter Vescey and Stephen A. Smith, even with Marc Stein and Chad Ford, and under David Aldridge - says the rumor has Garnett coming to Sacramento for Brad Miller, Kenny Thomas, a resigned Bonzi Wells, and the #19 pick.
My brain tells me that's a lot of players going from one side to the other. But since it's the first serious trade rumor of the offseason for the Kings, let's take a closer look at it.
Garnett makes $20 million in 2006-07, and is signed for two more seasons after that at salaries that increase $2 million a season.
Brad Miller is signed for four more seasons, and he's at $9.6 million next season. He tops out at $12.2 million in 2009-10.
Kenny Thomas is also signed through 2009-10. He's at $6.7 million next season, and he tops out at $8.5 million.
Bonzi Wells can probably expect at minimum the contract Shareef Abdur-Rahim got last offseason ($29 million over 5 years) and at maximum about $8 million per season for four or five years. Minnesota's Kevin McHale isn't exactly known for giving reasonable contracts, so this good get higher.
Whoever the Kings pick at #19 would get just under $1 million his rookie season, with a guaranteed second season just over $1 million and a team option for the third and fourth seasons at gradually increasing rates.
Both the Kings and Timberwolves are over the salary cap, so the matching salaries need to be within 25 percent.
The trade would meet those rules if Bonzi signs for anything up to about $9 million per year.
Sacramento's lineup would look like this:
They'd have to pick up at least one and possibly two players in free agency. Minnesota does not have a second-round pick (nor does Sacramento), so the pickup would have to be taken with the $1 million veteran exception, the $5 million mid-level exception (unlikely), or it would have to be an unsigned rookie free agent.
I'm assuming that Garnett would be tapped to play center under such a scenario. He and Abdur-Rahim have shown over the years they can both guard bigs, but Garnett is the much better rebounder and shot-blocker.
Depth is still a problem, with Garcia as the only back-up you'd have any faith in immediately. (And even then, he's a sophomore.) But that starting five is almost an All-Star team, and features three of last season's most efficient players, an MVP, a Defensive Player of the Year, and four guys would could be an All-Star any given season.
Whatever the offense lost on the perimeter from Brad's loss would be made up between Garnett's shooting touch and Martin's superior perimeter to that of Bonzi. Whatever the offense lost inside due to Bonzi's loss would be made up with Garnett's inside ability. And as for defense and rebounding, having Garnett is definitely an improvement.
MVPs don't get shuffled around too often, and Garnett is better than just an "MVP." He's an easy Hall-of-Famer, he works his tail off and expects his teammates to do the same. He is absolutely tenacious, yet he's not a problem child by any stretch of the imagination.
It's rare that you can trade three starters, maintain your core, and get better. But this trade fits that bill.
Of course, I doubt it will happen. But it's a nice thought to have in the doldrums of June.