9 players the Minnesota Timberwolves gave up on too soon

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Minnesota Timberwolves front office mistakes Jimmy Butler
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Number IV: Jimmy Butler

The Minnesota Timberwolves benefitted from two partial seasons of wing Jimmy Butler. While his career was only a very short chapter on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster, his impact on this team and the fan base can still be felt.

Butler was not a quiet tow-the-line type of player. He is a passionate firestorm, a player who loves to turn up the heat on his opponents, his teammates, his coaches, but most of all, on himself. It seemed that the hotter the moment, the bigger the stage, and the more oppressive the pressure, the better Jimmy Butler performed.

Butler was the catalyst that elevated the 2017-18 season to a 47-35 record and an appearance in the NBA playoffs. But he was due to be paid, and the Minnesota Timberwolves simply did not free up the right amount of salary cap space to make the offer that Butler expected. When that happened, Butler when from a firestorm on the basketball court to a firestorm in the locker room.

When a player like Jimmy Butler starts to distrust an NBA team’s front office, then things go downhill pretty quickly. In his own words:

"“Now, first of all, I have a for-real problem with authority. When somebody’s telling me what to do as a grown man, I have a problem with it. So now you done lit the match, but ain’t nothin’ on fire yet. You just lit the match.- per Jimmy Butler as interviewed on the J.J. Redick podcast"

From that moment, the only option for the Minnesota Timberwolves at that point was to execute a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. But as has been the case of the Timberwolves, trading a star often depletes the roster, and the Timberwolves are left with a less productive team in the aftermath.