Minnesota sports fans, you’ve probably heard by now, but another star athlete wants to jump ship. Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler demanded a trade before the 2018-2019 NBA season. This type of drama isn’t new to Minnesota sports fans. Going back to Kevin Garnett in 2007 and Kevin Love in 2014, it seems like Minnesota can never hold on to star-caliber players for more than a few years. Many will accredit this to the obvious reasons such as cold weather and a small market. However, these factors are the least of Minnesota’s problems.
The Timberwolves have recently lost three cornerstone players due to bitterness with the franchise – Garnett, arguably the best Timberwolf in franchise history and future Hall of Famer, Love a two-time Champ and a top PF in the league at the time and Butler, a current four-time All-Star.
I believe the Timberwolves’ biggest problem is the franchise leadership in Tom Thibodeau, who is Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations.
Thibodeau came to Minnesota in 2016 and completely revamped the vision for the Timberwolves. Instead of focusing on the young and promising talent he had available, he decided to blow that up, trading for Jimmy Butler with two years on his contract. In doing so, he gave away three top prospects in Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. Now, instead of having a very exciting future with a starting lineup including promising players like Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, we get a whopping 59 games of Jimmy Butler with massive question marks for the future.
Thibodeau keeps trying to stay relevant by adding old and washed-up Chicago Bulls players, including Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, and Luol Deng. These “Timberbulls” – with an average age of 32 years old – do not give us any substantial hope for the future. Instead, we are back to what is all too familiar for Minnesota fans: the NBA draft.
We watch potential all-stars put on the Timberwolves hat with excitement, only to pass up on star players and select busts that end up leaving the team 5-7 years later in disgust.
The Timberwolves ownership needs to make a change. There needs to be a complete overhaul in franchise leadership, including more than just the Head Coach. If this isn’t done soon, Timberwolves fans may soon be searching for a new team to cheer for.