Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves

Basketball Team
Minnesota Timberwolves

Minneapolis


Minnesota Timberwolves is an American basketball team that competes in the NBA.

Foundation

The birth of the franchise took place in 1987, when the NBA undertook an expansion in which a number of new franchises entered the league. However, they did not enter the league until 1989, in a new expansion in which the Minneapolis franchise itself and the Orlando Magic joined the league.

The franchise began its first season in the Metrodome, although in the second season they moved to their current stadium, the Target Center. The first few years were not easy, with poor results and no more than 30 wins in any of their first seven seasons. Despite this, the fans were always very loyal to the team, filling the pavilion game after game and even reaching the figure of 49551 spectators in a game in 1990 against Denver Nuggets, which is the fourth largest attendance in the history of the NBA.

Kevin Garnett era

In 1994 the franchise rejected a proposed move to New Orleans, and Glen Taylor bought the franchise. Kevin McHale was named the new General Manager and the dynamics of the franchise changed radically. The 1995 Draft arrived and the Timberwolves selected with the 5th pick what would become the best player in their history, Kevin Garnett. He came straight out of high school, but his potential was enormous. In addition, Flip Saunders was named new coach and the management made several trades that improved the team, which was reinforced with players like Andrew Lang, Spud Webb or Tom Gugliotta. Garnett would finish his rookie year with 10.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, and the team finished with a record of 26 wins and 56 losses.

After this season, the franchise acquired Stephon Marbury in exchange for Ray Allen's rights, and the team improved its performance. They would finish the year with a 40-42 record, making it into the Playoffs for the first time in their history. In addition, Garnett was an All-Star (17 points and 8 rebounds). They would be eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the first round.

Twitter: @Timberwolves
Twitter: @Timberwolves

In the following season, 97-98, the team would achieve its first season with a positive balance (45-37), but they would be eliminated again in the first round, this time by Seattle. In 1998, Garnett signed an unprecedented contract (6 years for 126 million dollars) and Marbury and Gugliotta had to leave the franchise.

McHale made a trade in which he signed a secret contract that violated the rules, and the Minnesota Timberwolves received a penalty that prevented them from picking in the Draft for five seasons. Despite this, the team continued to achieve good results during those seasons, reaching the Playoffs season after season. However, they did not make it out of the first round until the 2003-2004 season.

In the season before that, 2002-2003, Kevin Garnett was named MVP of the regular league, establishing himself as one of the big stars of the league. The following season they finished with the best record in the Western Conference (58-24), boosted by the new additions of Sprewell and Cassell. They also made it past the first round of the Playoffs for the first time, against the Nuggets, and also won the conference semifinals against Sacramento. In the conference finals they would be eliminated against Kobe and Shaq's Lakers (4-2).

Twitter: @Timberwolves
Twitter: @Timberwolves

The following season Sprewell and Cassell left the team, and several financial disputes caused the team to miss the Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, despite a 44-38 record. In addition, Flip Saunders was dismissed, beginning a rebuilding process with Garnett at the helm.

Another bad decision in the 2006 Draft saw Brandon Roy traded to the Blazers in exchange for Foye, who never reached the level of the Rookie of the Year. This series of bad decisions led to the departure of Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics, receiving a young Al Jefferson and other lesser players in return. "Big Al" became the fundamental piece of a team that plunged into a negative dynamic of results. In the 2008 draft they traded OJ Mayo in exchange for Kevin Love, who would soon become the new face of the franchise.

Love's breakthrough and Ricky's arrival

Despite this, Al Jefferson was not yet an established star and Love was still very young, so the franchise experienced a series of bad seasons, always hovering around 20 wins per season. As a result, there were several coaching changes (including McHale himself) and for the 2010-2011 season they traded Al Jefferson to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Kosta Koufos.

The reins of the team passed to Kevin Love, who would soon respond being All-Star in 2010 and leaving during that season 52 double-doubles, although the team continued with its poor performance, not even reaching 20 wins (17-65). In the following season (11/12) Ricky Rubio arrived to the team with the 5th pick of the Draft and other changes in the roster took place, as well as the signing of Rick Adelman as new coach. However, Ricky's knee injury and others like Pekovic's and Beasley's sank the team again, being out of the Playoffs (26-40).

The 12/13 season was not good either, as Love and Ricky started the season injured. Some reinforcements such as Kevin Martin or Andrei Kirilenko had been brought to the team, but they did not know how to pull the team during the absence of the stars, being again out of the Playoffs (31-51).

ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Kevin Love's trade and Towns' arrival.

After a 40-42 record in 2013/2014, Kevin Love requested a trade. The request was fulfilled when the Wolves traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers for draftee Andrew Wiggins (No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 Draft) and Anthony Bennett (No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 Draft). In addition, the Wolves acquired Thaddeus Young and selected Zach Lavine with the 13th pick in the Draft. The power forward Kevin Love thus put an end to a period of great individual level, but full of collective failures.

After another season at the bottom of the Western Conference, in which Andrew Wiggins was named Rookie of the Year (16.9 points and 4.6 rebounds), the Wolves selected Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick of the 2015 Draft. During the 2015/2016 season the team reported the passing of Flip Saunders, and the Wolves wore his name on their jersey throughout the season. He was replaced by interim coach Sam Mitchell.

Towns was Rookie of the Year with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but the team was held to a 31-51 record. For the following season, the team fired Sam Mitchell and named Tom Thibodeau as the new coach. In addition, they selected Kris Dunn with the 5th pick.

ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Trade for Jimmy Butler

In the 2016/2017 season they repeated their record, again missing the Playoffs, despite Zach Lavine, Wiggins and Towns averaging over 20 points. In the 2017 Draft the Wolves made a move by trading Kris Dunn, Lavine and the seventh pick of that draft in exchange for Bulls star Jimmy Butler. In addition, during free agency they traded Ricky to the Utah Jazz for a 2018 Draft pick. To shore up the team they secured the services of veterans Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford, as well as the mid-season addition of Derrick Rose .

With a much improved team for the 2017/2018 season, the franchise qualified for the Playoffs after 14 seasons without doing so, with a record of 47 wins and 35 losses. However, they would be eliminated in the first round by the Houston Rockets (4-1).

NBA.com
NBA.com

Butler's time with the Minneapolis team would be brief, as with only 10 games played in the 2018/2019 season he was traded to the Sixers in exchange for Covington, Saric, Bayless and a second round draft pick. After the trade the team would return to the losing ways, finishing the season with a record of 36 wins and 46 losses and finishing out of the Playoffs.

New reconstruction

The team came into the 2019/2020 season without much hope, with a stagnant team and in an increasingly tough Western Conference. The predictions came true, despite the team's good start. To change this dynamic, the franchise, led by its new president of operations Gersson Rosas, was very active in the winter market, getting players like Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernángomez or James Johnson, although it had to get rid of Robert Covington. But the most important transfer involved Andrew Wiggins and D'Angelo Russell. The point guard came to Minnesota to join his good friend Towns, while the 2014 pick 1 left the franchise after six disappointing seasons. With a new team full of youth the franchise will try to reverse the situation in which they find themselves under Ryan Saunders, son of the legendary Flip.

D'Angelo y Rosas / Twitter: @Timberwolves
D'Angelo and Rosas / Twitter: @Timberwolves