"When people think of the Timberwolves they think of KG. He had some great years for us and our organization and fans really respect what he's done here in Minnesota and throughout his NBA career," Saunders said.
"There's an ultimate respect because of what he's accomplished, but KG's still a kid at heart because he loves the game."
Top tweets: KG comes home to Minnesota
Garnett was drafted out of high school fifth overall in 1995, and he spend his first 12 seasons in the NBA in Minnesota. He led the team to eight consecutive playoff appearances from 1996-97 to 2003-04, including a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2003-04. He was named the NBA MVP in 2004. He was traded to Boston in 2007 and won his first and only NBA championship in the 2007-2008 season and went to the Nets on July 12, 2013.
Despite Garnett and Saunders' history together, this wasn't a done deal right away. Saunders said he didn't know the trade had gone through until about 1:30 in the afternoon despite rumors swirling for the past several hours.
"For him to give up his no-trade clause to come here, that shows that his heart is still here," Saunders said.
No one said Garnett was going to turn this team around and they'd start winning every game, but a lot of people, including Saunders, have said he can be an incredible mentor to this rising squad. Not to mention, earlier this season, Garnett made it public that he eventually would like to own the Wolves.
"I want to buy the Timberwolves, put a group together and perhaps someday try to buy the team. That's what I want," he told Yahoo Sports.
Garnett will not be in attendance for Friday's game against the Phoenix Suns but will be in Minnesota on Saturday. His first game back at Target Center will be on Wednesday against the Washington Wizards.
"In my 17 years of coaching, I've never seen a team so excited," Saunders said.