Professional basketball returned to the Twin Cities in 1989
for the first time since the Minneapolis Lakers
departed for Los Angeles
, when the NBA granted one of its four new expansion teams (the others being the Orlando Magic
, Charlotte Hornets
, and the Miami Heat
) to original owners Marv Wolfenson
and Harvey Ratner
to begin play for the 1989–90
season. They received the name "Timberwolves" as the result of a "Name that team" contest. 
Minnesota is home to the largest population of Timberwolves in the lower 48 states (at about 1200). 
They 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 get their first win, beating the Philadelphia 76ers
at home 125–118 on November 10th. The Timberwolves, led by Tony Campbell
with 23.2 ppg, went on to a 22–60 record, finishing in 6th place in the Midwest Division. Playing in the cavernous Metrodome, the expansion Timberwolves drew over 1 million fans 
(an NBA record for attendance) 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, however they fired their head coach Bill Musselman
. They didn't fare much better under Musselman's successor, ex-Celtics
coach Jimmy Rodgers
finishing with an NBA-worst 15–67 record. Looking to turn the corner, the Wolves hired former Detroit Pistons
general manager Jack McCloskey
to the same position, but even with notable first round selections such as Christian Laettner
and Isaiah Rider
in the 1992 and 1993 NBA Draft respectively, was unable to duplicate his "Detroit Bad Boys" success in the Twin Cities as the Wolves on-court mediocrity continued. One of the few highlights from this era was when the Target Center served as host of the 1994 All-Star Game
where Rider won the Slam Dunk Contest
with his between-the-leg "East Bay Funk Dunk".
As winning basketball continued to elude the Wolves, Ratner and Wolfenson nearly sold the team to New Orleans interests
before NBA owners rejected the proposed move. Eventually, Glen Taylor
bought the team and named Kevin McHale
1995–2007: The Kevin Garnett era
In 1995, the Timberwolves selected Kevin Garnett
in the draft, and Flip Saunders
became coach. 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 the previous season for Golden State Warriors
' forward Tom Gugliotta
. These trades 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 in the Midwest Division, with a 26–56 record.
In 1996, the T-Wolves added another star player in the draft, swapping Ray Allen
to 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 were swept by the Houston Rockets
in 3 straight games. The T-Wolves also decided to change their image by changing their team logo and colors, adding black to the team colors and replacing the original logo with a logo featuring a snarling wolf looming over a field of trees. It was also during the season that Minnesota began to play on the parquet floor
also used by the Boston Celtics
and the Orlando Magic
in every home game at the Target Center
In 1997, Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury established themselves as two of the brightest rising stars in the NBA
. Garnett averaged 18.5 ppg and 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 much of the season. With an already cap-heavy payroll the Wolves were forced to let Tom Gugliotta walk away in part because they want to save money in order to sign Stephon Marbury to a long-term contract and in part because Tom Gugliotta did not want to play with Stephon Marbury. This move proved unsuccessful, however, as Stephon Marbury wanted to be the biggest star on a team and subsequently forced an in-season trade by refusing a contract extension. In the 3-team midseason deal that sent Marbury to the New Jersey Nets
the Wolves got Terrell Brandon
in return and a first round draft pick in the 1999 draft (which turned out to be the sixth pick). 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 eventual champion San Antonio Spurs
in 4 games.
In 1999, the Timberwolves drafted Wally Szczerbiak
with the sixth pick in the draft. 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 by a drunk driver. Souksangouane Phengsene, was driving the wrong way down the freeway Sealy was driving on, causing the fatal crash in his Land Rover. Sealy's number has since been retired, with the number 2 jersey memorialized with Sealy's name on a banner hanging from the rafters of Target Center. The drunk driver was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to four years in prison. He was previously arrested for drunk driving in Iowa in 1997 and has since been arrested twice more for driving while intoxicated in 2006 and 2008. 
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. The league stripped the T-Wolves of five 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 Wolves in 2001.) Despite the trouble the Wolves made the playoffs for the 5th straight season with a 47–35 record. 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
With the arrival of newcomers Gary Trent
, Loren Woods
, Maurice Evans
and the return of Joe Smith
; the Wolves started the season on fire by winning their first six games and a franchise-best 30–10 start. One of the wins included a franchise record 53 point over Chicago
in November. They would finish with a 50–32 record, their second ever 50 win season that was highlighted by another All-Star appearance by Garnett and a breakout season by Wally Szczerbiak
, who earned his first All-Star appearance. Once again, Minnesota lost in the first round of the playoffs, getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks
in three straight.
seemed to look up for the Wolves. Kevin Garnett
had a great season, finishing second 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. As a result, they were awarded home court advantage for the first time when 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, and the Timberwolves were eliminated in the first round for the 7th straight year.
, the Timberwolves made two strong 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 to beat in the Western Conference. They finished 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. Kevin Garnett leapt upon the scorer's table upon the completion of Game 7 in the Sacremento series, one of the more defining moments in franchise playoff history. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves' run ended in the Western Conference finals as the team lost to the Lakers, the previous Minnesota franchise. Due to an injured hip, Sam Cassell played only sparingly during the series with the Lakers. Kevin Garnett finally earned his first MVP award with 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists 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. They missed the playoffs by 1 game, to the Memphis Grizzlies
During the 2005 offseason, Kevin McHale
and the Wolves started their search for a head coach. McHale interviewed Seattle
assistant coach Dwane 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 Dwane Casey
as the new head coach. This was Casey's first head coaching job. He was the Wolves' 7th head coach in their 16-year history.
In the 2005 Draft
, the Timberwolves selected Rashad McCants
, a shooting guard from North Carolina
with the 14th overall pick of the 1st round. The Timberwolves also selected Bracey Wright
, a guard from Indiana
with the 17th pick of the 2nd round (47th overall).
During the offseason, they traded All-Star Sam Cassell
and a protected future first-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Clippers
for Marko Jaric
and Lionel Chalmers
. They also signed free agent Nikoloz Tskitishvili
On January 26, 2006, the Wolves traded forward Wally Szczerbiak, centers Dwayne Jones and Michael Olowokandi, and a future first-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics
. In return, they received forward/guard Ricky Davis
, center Mark Blount
, forward Justin Reed
, guard Marcus Banks
, and two second-round draft picks. In a separate trade on the same day, the Timberwolves traded Nikoloz Tskitishvili
to the Phoenix Suns
for a 2006 second-round draft pick. The Timberwolves finished 33–49, missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
In the 2006 NBA draft, the Timberwolves selected future Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy
with the 6th overall pick, Craig Smith
with the 36th pick, Bobby Jones
with the 37th pick and center Loukas Mavrokefalidis
with the 57th pick. The Timberwolves traded Brandon Roy to the Portland Trail Blazers for Randy Foye and cash considerations. The Timberwolves then traded forward Bobby Jones to the Philadelphia 76ers for a 2007 second-round pick and cash.
On January 23, GM Kevin McHale fired head coach Dwane Casey
and replaced him with Randy Wittman
. McHale explained in a news conference that it was inconsistency by Casey that led to the firing. Casey had compiled an overall record of 53–69. They finished the 2006–07 season with a record of 32–50, allowing them to keep their 2007 first-round pick.
Rebuilding the Team
On June 14, 2007, the Timberwolves
traded Mike James
and Justin Reed
to the Houston Rockets
for Juwan Howard
In the 2007 NBA Draft
the Timberwolves selected Corey Brewer
and Chris Richard
from the National Champion Florida Gators.
On July 31, 2007, the Minnesota Timberwolves reached a deal to trade All-Star Kevin Garnett
to the Boston Celtics
for Al Jefferson
, Theo Ratliff
, Gerald Green
, Sebastian Telfair
, Ryan Gomes
, two first-round draft picks, and cash considerations. This is the largest combination of players and picks ever traded for a single player in NBA history.
On October 24, 2007, the Timberwolves traded Ricky Davis
and Mark Blount
to the Miami Heat
in exchange for the Heat's Antoine Walker
, Michael Doleac
, Wayne Simien
, and a 2008 protected first-round draft pick (lottery protected in 2008, top 10 in 2009, top 6 in 2010
, beyond: unprotected).
On October 29, 2007, The Timberwolves waived Juwan Howard after reaching a contractual buyout agreement, worth $10 million of roughly $14.25 million which Minnesota would have owed him. The Timberwolves waived Wayne Simien to finalize their roster to 15 players. The Wolves traded a top 56 protected NBA draft pick to the Spurs for cash and Beno Udrih whom was immediately waived.
Minnesota began the NBA preseason with two games in London
, as part of NBA Europe Live 2007. On October 10
, The Wolves lost to Kevin Garnett
and the revamped Boston Celtics
92–81. To start the season, the Wolves began 0–5 before finally ending the drought with a home win over Sacramento
. That drought also brought about speculation of the possible dismissal of current coach Randy Wittman. The youngest team in the NBA began adjusting to life after trading franchise star Kevin Garnett to Boston, meanwhile playing without budding talent Randy Foye for the first half of the season. Guards Sebastian Telfair and Marko Jaric were deputized as starting point guards during Foye's injury absence. The Timberwolves finished the season 22–60. 
On a handful of occasions during the season, the team showed flashes of its potential in wins or very close contests with the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, and San Antonio Spurs.
In the 2008 NBA Draft
the Timberwolves selected O.J. Mayo
out of Southern California
with the third overall pick. Despite Mayo being regarded as one of the top three players in the draft, McHale traded Mayo to the Memphis Grizzlies
in a draft day blockbuster deal. The rights to Mayo, Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, and Greg Buckner
were traded to the Grizzlies for the rights to Kevin Love
, the fifth overall pick out of UCLA, Mike Miller
, Brian Cardinal
, and Jason Collins
. Some see this as another draft day blunder as Mayo started strong for the Grizzlies averaging over 20 points per game while Love has averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds a game for the Wolves; however, the deal did remove one long contract (Jaric's) from the Wolves' balance sheet, and shed two aging, unproductive players in Walker and Buckner. It should also be noted that despite Mayo's quick start to the season, many experts rank Love in front of Mayo in terms of performance during their rookie seasons. Love finished the 2008 season averaging 11.1 ppg and 9.1 rpg.
In 2008, in celebration of the franchise's twentieth anniversary, the team unveiled a new logo and uniforms. They first appeared in the first preseason game against the Chicago Bulls at United Center on October 14, 2008. They also refurbished the floor at Target Center, returning to the traditional floor pattern and added touches of varnish while exposing most of the hardwood.
On December 8, 2008, after a 23-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers
that dropped the team to 4–15, the Timberwolves fired head coach Randy Wittman and Kevin McHale took over. McHale also relinquished his vice president of basketball operations duties. It was unclear whether McHale's future with the team was dependent on the success or progress of the team which he had put together over the previous four years.
Those questions seemed to be answered when the Timberwolves went 10-4 for the month of January, giving McHale the coach of the month honors. But on February 8, 2009, the team's main star Al Jefferson
tore his ACL
in his right knee in a game at New Orleans
, sidelining him for the rest of the season. At the time of the injury, Jefferson was having his best season to date, averaging 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Without Jefferson and another out-for-the-season player Corey Brewer
, the Wolves sputtered, going 7-25 since Jefferson's injury to finish with a 24-58 record.
On June 17, 2009, new president of basketball operations, David Kahn
, announced that McHale would not be returning to the team as head coach. Kahn did not give a specific reason for McHale's dismissal only saying "this is going to be a transition period." For his part, McHale said he wanted to come back but was not offered a contract.
On June 23 the Timberwolves and Washington Wizards
were involved in a trade that sent Mike Miller
and Randy Foye
to the Wizards for the 5th pick of the 2009 NBA Draft
, Etan Thomas
, Darius Songaila
, and Oleksiy Pecherov. After the trade, the Timberwolves had four first round draft picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Timberwoves used the fifth pick to draft point guard Ricky Rubio
out of Spain, Jonny Flynn
out of Syracuse
with the sixth pick, and Ty Lawson
and Wayne Ellington
both out of North Carolina
with the 18th and 28th picks. Lawson was then traded to the Denver Nuggets
. Nick Calathes
out of Florida
was picked in the second round but his rights were traded to the Dallas Mavericks
The Wolves suffered a big blow when their draft pick Ricky Rubio decided to stay in Spain for another two years, after they were unable to negotiate a contract buyout with DKV Joventut
. He was subsequently traded to FC Barcelona
on August 31.
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Radio and Television
The Timberwolves flagship station is KFAN
1130 AM. KFAN has been the flagship since the team's inception, except for a brief two year hiatus to KLCI
BOB 106.1 FM for the 2006–07
seasons. Broadcasters are Alan Horton and Kevin Lynch.
Games are broadcast on KSTC-TV
Channel 45 and FSN North
. Broadcasters are Tom Hanneman and Jim Petersen.
Buy Minnesota Timberwolves Tickets
8 Playoff Appearances
(1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
1- 2004 (Midwest Division)
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- 2 Malik Sealy, F, 1999–2000
| note= }}
(as of April 16, 2009)
denotes still active with team.
denotes still active in NBA.
- 1. Kevin Garnett
- 2. Sam Mitchell (7,161)
- 3. Wally Szczerbiak
- 4. Doug West (6,216)
- 5. Tony Campbell (4,888).
- 6. Christian Laettner (4,759).
- 7. Isaiah Rider (4,315).
- 8. Tom Gugliotta (4,201).
- 9. Pooh Richardson (3,689).
- 10. Anthony Peeler (3,622).
- 11. Terrell Brandon (3,157).
- 12. Al Jefferson
- 13. Tyrone Corbin (2,833).
- 14. Stephon Marbury
- 15. Troy Hudson (2,576).
- 16. Joe Smith
- 17. Randy Foye
- 18. Sam Cassell
- 19. Latrell Sprewell (2,396).
- 20. Rasho Nesterovic
- 21. Micheal Williams (2,247).
- 22. Rashad McCants
- 23. Chuck Person (2,203).
- 24. Trenton Hassell
- 25. Ryan Gomes
- 26. Terry Porter (2,118).
- 27. Craig Smith
- 28. Ricky Davis
- 29. Thurl Bailey (1,937).
- 30. Chauncey Billups
(as of April 16, 2009)
- 1. Kevin Garnett
- 2. Sam Mitchell (3,030)
- 3. Christian Laettner (2,225)
- 4. Tom Gugliotta (1,970)
- 5. Wally Szczerbiak
- 6. Rasho Nesterovic
- 7. Joe Smith
- 8. Doug West (1,559)
- 9. Al Jefferson
- 10. Felton Spencer (1,400)
- 11. Tyrone Corbin (1,262)
- 12. Dean Garrett (1,156)
- 13. Tony Campbell (1,083)
- 14. Anthony Peeler (1,058)
- 15. Craig Smith
- 16. Trenton Hassell
- 17. Tod Murphy (929)
- 18. Randy Breuer (916)
- 19. Isaiah Rider (873)
- 20. Eddie Griffin (867) (tie)
- 20. Ryan Gomes
- 22. Thurl Bailey (837)
- 23. Luc Longley (792)
- 24. Gary Trent (777)
- 1. Kevin Garnett
- 2. Pooh Richardson (1973)
- 3. Terrell Brandon (1681)
- 4. Stephon Marbury
- 5. Micheal Williams (1239)
- 6. Doug West (1216)
- 7. Wally Szczerbiak
- 8. Terry Porter (1018)
- 9. Anthony Peeler (1000)
- 10. Troy Hudson (984)
On December 8, 2008, Randy Wittman was fired as head coach of the team and was replaced by GM Kevin McHale for his second stint as interim head coach for the Wolves.
In June 2009, Kevin McHale was fired as Timberwolves head coach. On August 8th, 2009, it was reported that Los Angeles Lakers
assistant coach Kurt Rambis
had been hired as the new Timberwolves head coach.
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- Minnesota Timberwolves draft history
- Rockets, Wolves finalize swap of Howard, James.
- ESPN - NBA Standings, Pro Basketball Standings, NBA Team Records