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In his first two seasons McCants earned an on-court rep that didn't exactly sync up to the profile either: a quick-trigger shooting guard physical enough to defend small forwards. He bonded with the team's superstar, Kevin Garnett, the two frequently working out together after practice. When McCants awoke from knee surgery in 2006, KG was sitting at the foot of the bed. In 2007-08, under first-year coach Randy Wittman, McCants began to blossom, selected by his peers as a team captain. As Minnesota's second option, he routinely made highlight reels. Future All-Star was what they said. At his season-ending interview, Wittman praised his effort. Brimming with optimism, McCants spent the summer in the area, organizing workouts and early-morning sprints for his teammates.
He hits rewind on a couple of recent humbling experiences. It's the summer of '09 and McCants is growing anxious over a lack of offers, so he undertakes a quest for answers. "I've heard nothing but bad things about you," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra tells him in the midst of an informal run in Miami. At the Vegas Summer League, Mike D'Antoni says he can't give McCants a shot for fear he'd poison the Knicks' locker room. Tar Heel blood brothers Larry Brown and George Karl barely give him the time of day. Some GMs won't even get on a conference call with him. "Everybody said I wasn't a good fit," he says with genuine sadness. "It felt like I had nowhere to turn. It felt like I died."