It’s a big weekend in the NBA world with not only the 2020 All-Star Game being hosted in Chicago but the league announcing the finalists for the 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class. Among them is Kevin Garnett who played one season at Farragut Career Academy on Chicago’s West Side alongside Chicago legend Ronnie Fields.
Garnett was named the National Player of the Year in his senior season and was selected No. 5 overall in the 1995 NBA Draft before playing 21 seasons in the league. As Garnett is now in retirement, he was back in Chicago this weekend for a panel on an upcoming documentary set to air this Fall on Showtime that will center around Garnett and his high school career as well as the decision to skip college and go to the NBA.
But on that panel, Garnett was asked something interesting about his career: Was he ever close to signing with the Chicago Bulls at any point?
The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein asked the question and had a back-and-forth with Garnett on the topic. The answer was pretty telling especially at the stage we are at now with management and ownership of the franchise. Garnett went back to how they treated legend Michael Jordan on his way out. Here is the back-and-forth via Greenstein:
Garnett: “I don’t really have a why. There was never an opportunity to, and I saw how Jerry (Reinsdorf), how they did Mike, you know, keeping it 100 (% truthful). And all players keep that in the back of their minds. If you treat the greatest like this … the greatest didn’t even have a chance to come back and have ownership. What he invested to build the Bulls, he didn’t even get a chance to come back and reap the benefits of that, so … players see that and remember that or put that in the back of their minds. At least I did.
“But I don’t know why in the hell the Bulls can’t sign any free agents. I don’t know.”
But you just said it.
“Yeah,” Garnett replied, “I just probably gave you the answer all in there.
“But who knows? Different times, though. (Shoutout) to Zach LaVine, he’s doing his thing. Let’s see if they keep that nucleus together.”
The Bulls franchise has been stuck in the mud for years now. They failed to sign any of the big free agents a decade ago and have a struggled with that since. The plan for John Paxson and Gar Forman has been to create a nucleus here in Chicago and then land a prized free agent.
It’s been a long time since that plan has worked and the Bulls are just stuck in rebuild mode.
With the All-Star Game here in Chicago this weekend, the #FireGarPax movement has been spreading throughout events around the city. The fans are fed up with management and ownership, and rightfully so. It doesn’t appear a change is coming anytime soon and this team isn’t getting any better.
But it’s worth a shot to hope, right?