MINNEAPOLIS — Flip Saunders brought Kevin Garnett back home to help turn a young, impressionable Minnesota Timberwolves roster into a group that can pull the franchise out of a decade of futility.

Now that Saunders is on leave from the team while battling cancer, Garnett’s return has never been more important.

“I see a lot of myself in some of these guys,” Garnett said on Monday in his first public comments since signing a two-year, $16.5 million contract earlier this summer.

Garnett spent the first 12 years of his career in Minnesota, cementing himself as the lone iconic player in the franchise’s 26 years in the league. He was traded to Boston in 2007, but Saunders engineered a deal with Brooklyn in February to get Garnett back to Minnesota, knowing his truly dominant days as a player were behind him yet still believing he could make an impact by showing young players like Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng what it takes to succeed in the NBA.

CAVALIERS: LeBron James joked that he could use a couple more months off to rest his body, but that he’s ready to chase a title with the Cavaliers.

James spoke to reporters as the Cavs held media day before opening training camp. The four-time league MVP is starting his second season back with Cleveland. He led the Cavs to the NBA finals last season before losing to Golden State.

The 30-year-old James said he worked out three times a day, five days per week this month to get ready for the upcoming season. James said he won’t be as “hard-headed” and will better manage his playing minutes.

WARRIORS: The shortest offseason in Golden State history was filled with talk show appearances, golf outings with the president, award shows and world travel.

Three months after celebrating their first NBA championship in 40 years, the Warriors are back to work with a full year of experience using Coach Steve Kerr’s system.

The Warriors, who won the title by beating James and the Cavaliers in six games in the NBA finals, believe they can be even better despite the bright target on their backs as defending champions.

“We won’t be complacent,” All-Star guard Klay Thompson said. “Guys on this team are too competitive. We tasted winning, and we’re kind of addicted.”