Minnesota Timberwolves

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Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a National Basketball Association team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Founded: 1989
Home Arena: Target Center
Former Arena: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (1989-1990)
Uniform colors: Black, Blue, White, Green, and Grey
Logo design: A snarling wolf rising from a green forest, the words "MINNESOTA" (in small type) and "TIMBERWOLVES" (in large type)
NBA Championships: None
NBA Finals: None
NBA Conference Finals: 2004
Division Champions: 2004 Midwest
Playoff Appearances: (8) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Best Season: 2003-04 (58-24)
Worst Season: 1991-92 (15-67)
2004-05 Record: 44-38
Minnesota Timberwolves old logo

Franchise history

Early Ineptitude

The Timberwolves made their debut on November 3, 1989 losing to the Seattle SuperSonics on the road 106-94. Five days later they would make their home debut at the Metrodome losing to the Chicago Bulls 96-84. Just two nights later the Wolves would finally got their first win beating the Philadelphia 76ers at home 125-118 on November 10th. The Timberwolves went on to finish with a 22-60 record while finishing in 6th place in the Midwestern Division, as Tony Campbell led the team with 23.2 ppg. Playing in the cavernous Metrodome the expansion Timberwolves drew over 1 million fans including the 3rd largest crowd in NBA history at 49,551 on April 17, 1990 that saw the Timberwolves lose to the Denver Nuggets 99-88 in the final home game of the season.

The next season the team moved into the Target Center and won 29 games. They fired their head coach Bill Musselman. Over the next several years, the franchise encountered mediocrity and even a near relocation in 1994 before NBA owners rejected the team's move to New Orleans. Glen Taylor bought the team and named Kevin McHale general manager.

Building a Contender

In 1995, the Timberwolves selected Kevin Garnett and Flip Saunders became coach. Changes were abound for the Timberwolves as Christian Laettner was traded along with Sean Rooks to the Atlanta Hawks for Andrew Lang and Spud Webb. Also first round pick Donyell Marshall was traded that season for Golden State Warriors' forward Tom Gugliotta, who was earlier traded himself from Washington for Chris Webber The trade paved the way for rookie Kevin Garnett to become the go-to player inside. Garnett went on to average 10.4 ppg in his rookie season as the T-Wolves finished in 5th place with a 26-56 record.

In addition the T-Wolves found another star player in the draft as they traded with the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights to Stephon Marbury, the 4th overall pick. The addition of Marbury had a positive effect on the entire team, as Kevin Garnett and Tom Gugliotta became the first Wolves to be selected to the All-Star team. Gugliotta and Garnett led the Timberwolves in scoring as the team made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a record of 40-42. However, in the playoffs the Timberwolves made a quick exit as they are swept by the Houston Rockets in 3 straight games.

In 1997 Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury established themselves as two of the brightest rising stars in the NBA as Garnett averaged 18.5 ppg while pulling down 9.6 rebounds per game, while Marbury averaged 17.7 ppg, and dished out 8.6 assists per game. Despite losing leading scorer Tom Gugliotta for half the season the Timberwolves went on to post their first winning season at 45-37 making the playoffs for the 2nd straight season. After dropping Game 1 on the road to the Seattle Supersonics in the playoffs the Timberwolves earned their first postseason win in Game 2 winning in Seattle 98-93. As the series shifted to Minnesota the Timberwolves had an opportunity to pull off the upset as they won Game 3 by a score of 98-90. However, the Wolves dropped Game 4 at home as the Sonics went on to win the series in 5 games.

In 1998, a year after signing Kevin Garnett to an unprecedented 6-year, $126 million contract, the Timberwolves were used as the poster child of irresponsible spending as the NBA endured a 4-month lockout that wiped out the season. With an already cap heavy payroll the Wolves were forced to let Tom Gugliotta walk away and trade Stephon Marbury fearing both would seek deals similar to Garnett's. In the 3-team midseason deal that sent Marbury to the New Jersey Nets the Wolves got Terrell Brandon in return. The Wolves made the playoffs for the 3rd straight season by finishing in 4th place with a 25-25 record. In the playoffs the Timberwolves were beaten by the San Antonio Spurs in 4 games.

In 1999, the Timberwolves drafted Wally Szczerbiak. He had a solid season finishing 3rd on the team in scoring with 11.6 ppg. Led by Kevin Garnett, who averaged 22.9 ppg and 11.8 rebounds per game, the Timberwolves enjoyed their first 50-win season finishing in 3rd place with a solid record of 50-32. However, in the playoffs the Wolves fell in the first round again losing to the Portland Trail Blazers in 4 games.

Guard Malik Sealy was killed in a car accident in the summer of 2000. Also in that season, a free agent deal signed by Joe Smith was voided by the NBA, who ruled that the Timberwolves violated proper procedure in signing the contract. They stripped the T-Wolves of three draft picks, fined them $3.5 million and suspended general manager Kevin McHale for one year. (Smith would eventually sign with the Detroit Pistons before re-signing with the T-wolves in 2001.) Despite the trouble the Wolves made the playoffs for the 5th straight season with a 47-35 record. However, in the playoffs the Wolves were eliminated in the first round again by the San Antonio Spurs in 4 games in the spring of 2001.

2002-2003 seemed to look up for the Wolves. Kevin Garnett had a great season, finishing 2nd in MVP voting while averaging a solid 23.0 ppg and 13.4 rebounds per game as the Timberwolves finish in 3rd place with a 51-31 record. With home court advantage for the first time facing the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. After being blown out at home in Game 1 the Timberwolves had a chance to take a 3-1 series lead as they led heading into the 4th quarter of Game 4 in Los Angeles. However, the Lakers came back to win the game on the way to winning the series in six games, as the Timberwolves were eliminated in the first round for the 7th straight year.

In 2003, the Timberwolves made two stunning offseason moves, trading away forward Joe Smith and injured guard Terrell Brandon in a multi-player deal for Ervin Johnson, Sam Cassell and embattled guard Latrell Sprewell.

During the 2003-04 NBA season, the Timberwolves became the team everyone wanted to beat. They finished as the season as the top seed in the Western Conference with a record of 58-24, and beat the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings in the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs before losing to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. Kevin Garnett finally earned his first MVP award with 24.2 points per game and 13.9 rebounds per game.

In the 2004-05 season, the Wolves kept the same team from the previous season. The team was plagued with contract disputes and the complaining of key players Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, and Troy Hudson. Coach Flip Saunders was replaced in midseason by GM Kevin McHale, who took over the team for the rest of the season. The Timberwolves finished 44-38, and missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years.

During the 2005 Offseason, Kevin McHale and the Wolves started their search for a head coach. McHale interviewed Seattle assistant coach Dwayne Casey, San Antonio Spurs assistant P.J. Carlesimo, former coach John Lucas and Wolves assistants Randy Wittman, Sidney Lowe and Jerry Sichting, among others.

On June 17, 2005, the Timberwolves hired Dwayne Casey as the new head coach. This will be Casey's first head coaching job. He will be the Wolves' 7th head coach in their 16-year franchise.

Players of note

Basketball Hall of Famers:

Not to be forgotten:

Retired numbers:

Current Players:

External links

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