MINNEAPOLIS — Less than a week before the Minnesota Timberwolves open training camp, they still have not heard if franchise icon Kevin Garnett wants to follow Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant into retirement.

No matter what Garnett chooses to do, it is becoming clear that the franchise that drafted him in 1995, the one that he hoped to take over one day, is preparing for life without him.

As the Timberwolves have waited for Garnett to make his plans known, they have started discussing several scenarios of moving forward without the 40-year-old alpha wolf, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press late Wednesday. Those scenarios include a buyout of the final year of Garnett’s contract and/or his retirement after 21 seasons in the NBA. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no agreements have been reached.

This is not how it was supposed to go when Garnett returned to the Timberwolves in a trade with Brooklyn in 2015. Flip Saunders had helped mend the fences that were broken after Garnett’s first exit from Minnesota in 2007, and the coach and the legend talked about Garnett’s desires to one day get into ownership with the Wolves.

Saunders died after a brief battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma just before last season and the organization had to shift gears. Owner Glen Taylor brought in new leadership in Tom Thibodeau and Scott Layden, and a new vision was born out of sheer necessity.

Saunders, who was both coach and president of the Wolves, signed Garnett to a two-year, $16.5 million contract last summer. His plan was to have Garnett’s passion and work ethic serve as an example for one of the most promising young rosters in the league. KG could reach Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng on a different and more personal level that the coaches ever could.

The plan worked, for the most part. Garnett bonded with the youngsters and was buoyed by their enthusiasm. And the pups soaked up his knowledge and gravitated to his charismatic personality, accentuated by a hilariously foul mouth and a penetrating stare that made them feel both respected and valued.

The scene played over and over last season, practice coming to an end and Garnett pulling one or two of the youngsters aside to offer counsel on defending the pick-and-roll, communicating on the court or using their feet to play better ball.

But most of Garnett’s best work with the team came in practices and on the team planes and buses, where he would hold court and impart wisdom. His balky knee held him to 38 games last season and only five after he made his emotional return to Minnesota in that trade deadline deal in 2015.

When Saunders died, Garnett lost his biggest champion in the organization, and perhaps the salesman who could help him assemble a group to buy the Timberwolves from Taylor.

OFFICIATING: NBA referees will be cracking down this season on the kind of hits to the groin area that resulted in Draymond Green’s suspension during the NBA Finals.

They also will more closely monitor traveling after complaints from coaches that players are getting away with too many steps on the perimeter.

BUCKS-ROCKETS TRADE: The Bucks acquired forward Michael Beasley from the Houston Rockets for backup point guard Tyler Ennis in a deal that beefs up Milwaukee’s frontcourt.

The 6-foot-9 Beasley averaged 12.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 20 games last season for Houston. He was playing in China before signing with the Rockets, where he won his league’s Foreign MVP Award while playing for the Shandong Golden Stars.

The deal could signal that the Bucks intend to keep 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo as a primary ball-handler, a position in which he thrived last season.

Michael Carter-Williams and Matthew Dellavedova can also play point guard.

COMMUNITY: NBA players are being urged to reach out to league and union officials to try and come up with ways to create “positive change” in communities around the country, a move that comes in response to protests in other sports about racial oppression and other social matters.

Players received a memo from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association on Wednesday, one that announced that the league and the union, “working together, have begun developing substantive ways for us to come together and take meaningful action.”