9 players the Minnesota Timberwolves gave up on too soon

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves front office mistakes Zach Levine
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Number I: Zach Lavine

There are many Timberwolves front office mistakes to choose from to make this list. But in assessing the ins and outs of each player, and the circumstances involved, some of the cause and effect of huge gaffes can be forgiven because there was some logic and rationale to support the decision. Whether it was the lack of information available about a drafted rookie who had never played for the team, or the inevitable question that must be answered about every NBA player:
“How long can he keep this up?” the answer has enough uncertainty to introduce enough speculation and guesswork to make it a bit of bad luck.

But when the Minnesota Timberwolves had the benefit of witnessing three seasons of play from the very versatile Zach Lavine and still included him in a package that included rookie Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn for Chicago Bulls Jimmy Butler, shame on them.

What really stings is the fact that the Timberwolves ended up trading away a ton of value for Butler, and got to the NBA Playoffs, but thanks to poorly-handled contract negotiations, the team traded away Butler the following season. Butler was a rental, Lavine was the real deal all by himself, and the Timberwolves were far too willing to trade him away.

Lavine has only become the leading scorer for the Chicago Bulls, and it began in the 2018-19 NBA season, the season in which the Timberwolves got just 10 games out of Jimmy Butler. Hey, we can rationalize the fact that the Timberwolves simply did not have enough to go on the likes of Walker Kessler, Lauri Markkanen, or even Brandon Roy. But there is no excuse for the willingness of the team to deal away Zach Lavine.  He was a huge contributor to the team, and the team was improving rapidly.

Yes, Jimmy Butler put the Minnesota Timberwolves over the top, but for one season. In the end, the team had an opportunity to show some resolve and patience but squandered one more future NBA All-Star in a misguided attempt to improve the team.

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