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Buss chased Garnett, but Celtics caught him

June 05, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- KG to the Lakers?

It almost happened until a proposed multi-team trade fell apart last June, meaning Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom weren't shipped off to Minnesota and Kevin Garnett wouldn't be wearing purple and gold.

It was whisper-close to taking place during a frenzied weeklong affair last summer, although the Timberwolves eventually sent Garnett to Boston for five players and two draft picks.

"We gave a great chase to Garnett last year and put a lot of pressure on the Minnesota franchise and felt like we had the inside track," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

"That we would end up missing out on that opportunity and still be here in this challenge, the Finals, is a great story in itself."

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and Lakers owner Jerry Buss began the groundwork for trade talks with a 20-minute chat a few days before last season's draft, but Kevin McHale, the Timberwolves' vice president of basketball operations, thought the Lakers didn't possess a good enough pick in that draft (19th overall) or enough promising young players beyond Bynum to part with Garnett.

The Timberwolves also weren't overly enamored of Odom's contract, which at the time had two more years at a total of $27.4 million.

Watch the low blows

The Lakers arrived here late Tuesday night and participated in a heavily attended media session Wednesday afternoon before practicing at TD Banknorth Garden.

It had been awhile since the teams last played each other -- more than five months -- but Odom predicted it would be fairly early in Game 1 tonight when they would be familiar again with one another.

"Middle of the first quarter," he said. "Both teams jab, jab, jab, jab, and after that you start throwing hooks."




No place like home?

The Lakers had home-court advantage in two of the 10 NBA Finals against Boston and won one. The other championship (1985) they won in Game 6 on the road:

*--* Year Advantage Result Year Advantage Result 1959 Boston Celtics, 4-0 1968 Boston Celtics, 4-2 1962 Boston Celtics, 4-3 1969 LAKERS Celtics, 4-3 1963 Boston Celtics, 4-2 1984 Boston Celtics, 4-3 1965 Boston Celtics, 4-1 1985 Boston Lakers, 4-2 1966 Boston Celtics, 4-3 1987 LAKERS Lakers, 4-2 *--*

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