If you haven’t been following sports during the NBA off-season, or been following Minnesota news in general, word might have gotten past you that Minnesota Timberwolves all-star Jimmy Butler requested a trade during this last off-season and skipped Timberwolves Media Day. When his wish for a trade wasn’t immediately granted, he exploded for an hour during a team practice. The Ringer has all the gory details.
Take a minute and read this stuff. If you haven’t been following this team, you’ll wish you had been; if you have been following this team, you’ll wish you hadn’t been.
So here we are again. One year after making the Western Conference playoffs for the first time in 14 years (a drought that spanned nearly half their existence), the Timberwolves are right back to being sports incompetence porn. When you look at the details of this Butler imbroglio, you can’t help but wonder, “How do you get past this as an organization?”
It’ll take a long time for the organization to get past this and, when they do, I promise: the next embarrassment will be right there waiting for them, whether the Wolves finish a season with less wins than a team openly losing on purpose, or a player gets caught cussing in response to being drafted by them, or Flying Spaghetti Monster knows what else. It’s coming, though. Don’t worry.
Maybe our answer is for us to get over this organization. Just like people sometimes say a change of scenery would do someone good, I think a change of scenery would do this whole franchise good.
I think it’s time for the Seattle Timberwolves. Whaddya say?
Seattle has been yearning for basketball ever since the SuperSonics were whisked away to Oklahoma City 10 years ago. For Seattlites, that wound is fresh like it was inflicted yesterday. You should have heard Seattle fans on WWE Monday Night RAW two weeks ago when Elias and Kevin Owens said having a basketball team there didn’t make sense. It’s jarring how loud they boo and how long they boo for. You can tell because Elias and Kevin Owens were jarred.
Seattle needs a basketball team. Minnesota has got one to spare.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the Timberwolves in my life – and data suggests not many other people do, either. The Wolves were 20th in the league last season in attendance, both in total body count and percentage of arena capacity, per ESPN.com. A report from Forbes has the Timberwolves pegged as the fourth-least valuable team in the league, despite a valuation increase of 38 percent over last year! The only teams less valuable are the Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets (the new bad ones, not the old good ones), and the New Orleans Pelicans. This is the company Minnesota keeps in the NBA. Isn’t that sad?
And how many die-hard Timberwolves fans do you know? Really. The only ones I know are Timberwolves bloggers and podcasters (to their credit, some of them are very good). Imagine how many die-hard fans they’d have in Seattle on Day One. They would instantly go from an afterthought in their own home to a local treasure.
On the court, the Wolves would leave very little behind. There’s no history to look back on, no hope in the present, and no encouraging signs for the future.
The Wolves have spent their entire existence being an easy victory for somebody else. Over half the teams in the NBA make the playoffs each year; yet, the Wolves have only qualified nine times in 29 years. They’ve advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs once – and even then, everyone knew they weren’t really a threat. They made the playoffs last season, but Minnesota was everyone’s answer when asked what team wasn’t making it back in this year even before Butler went nuclear.
The Timberwolves’ other two stars are lost causes-in-progress. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns were both given nine-figure maximum contracts before proving their worth. Why work hard now? They both just got over $100M by showing “flashes of potential.” If I was one of them, I’d keep doing exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 3-4 seasons, then go buy an island to retire on when I’m done.
The head coach has a fetish for washed-out guys he coached in Chicago 10 years ago, but he’s getting fired soon so whatever. The two best players in the team’s history both won NBA titles almost immediately after skipping town. Maybe Wiggins and Towns can do the same in Seattle.
To their credit, the Wolves did help bring a winner to Minnesota. Basketball fans here should feel blessed that we got to witness the Minnesota Lynx dynasty. The dynasty might be over, but the Lynx are still a dominant squad and a group of players you can be proud rooting for. The Wolves and Lynx have been intertwined since the Lynx’ arrival in the WNBA, but that doesn’t need to continue. WNBA teams are operating in three markets without NBA teams (Seattle is one of them), and the Lynx are perhaps the most powerful team in the league. They don’t need the Timberwolves and neither do we.
Seattle needs the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves need Seattle, and the league needs the Timberwolves in Seattle. The welcoming cheer out west might register on the Richter scale; back here, we would let out a collective “Meh” and move on with our lives. Local basketball fans will just turn another team on, and Minnesota sports homers will switch to the Wild or Vikings. When the WNBA season starts back up, we can cheer for a winner again. Done deal.
Let’s put the Timberwolves where they can really do some good. Seattle would be great. Anywhere else but here would be fine.