7 People who turned their backs on the Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers
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5. Christian Laettner

Just about every basketball fan knows Christian Laettner from his collegiate accomplishments at Duke. The former Blue Devil was a two-time NCAA Champion, National Player of the Year, First-team All-American, and the record holder for the most points scored in the NCAA Tournament with 407.

During his senior season in Durham, Laettner averaged 21.5 points and 7.9 boards per game while shooting 57.5 percent from the floor and 55.7 percent from downtown. The Wolves decided to use their third overall pick in 1992 to select the most hated college basketball player of all time.

Although his NBA career isn't well-regarded, he performed adequately in Minnesota. The Duke star burst onto the scene in 1992, averaging 18.2 points per game as a rookie. However, Laettner's various attitude problems also began to show in his inaugural season in the league.

Laettner's teammate, Chuck Person, labeled the Wolves' big man as a selfish player. His point guard, who averaged nearly nine assists per game, began ignoring Laettner on the court. It took the Duke product less than a full season to rub his teammates the wrong way.

Later in his rookie year, Laettner was fined for missing a practice. While arguments with players seem bad enough, Laettner began getting into it with coaches. He was fined for telling a coach to, "shut the (expletive) up." Then, in his second season, Laettner was suspended after a tirade aimed at an assistant coach.

Marred with losses, the entire Timberwolves franchise began a seismic shift. Within a span of three seasons, Minnesota saw coaching changes, trades, free-agent acquisitions, and even a change in ownership.

Continuity embarked in 1995 when the Wolves selected Garnett with the fifth pick and deemed Flip Saunders as their full-time head coach. As soon as the franchise began to steady, Laettner forced his way to Atlanta.

During Garnett's rookie campaign, Laettner felt slighted by Minnesota's preference for its young players. The collegiate star was quoted saying, “You’ve got to have the rookies and young kids shut up, and you’ve got to have the coaches and the veterans take care of the team. We’ve got some big britches on this team. We’ve got a lot of people who know everything.”

Anxious about upsetting their franchise centerpiece Garnett, the Wolves decided to trade Laettner to the Hawks in 1996. Between his attitude issues and argumentative nature, Laettner proved too much to handle for a team attempting to right the ship.