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How the Minnesota Timberwolves squandered Kevin Garnett’s prime, then lost him

Kevin Garnett’s Wolves made the Western Conference Finals in 2004 ... and then never returned to the playoffs.

Believe it or not, the Minnesota Timberwolves were once really good. In 2004, the LA Lakers dynasty crumbled, and a vacuum opened for a new Western Conference power to emerge. With coach Flip Saunders, superstar power forward Kevin Garnett, and a new veteran core that had just challenged LA in the Western Conference Finals, the Wolves looked like a strong contender to take over the West.

They did not do that, and this episode of Collapse explains why. Building a contending team took time, and keeping it together required some politics and financial maneuvering on which Minnesota GM Kevin McHale didn’t exactly stick the landing. The team’s performance slipped following its Conference Final berth, and McHale reacted by gradually replacing parts, only to hurt the roster with each move. It took bad firings, bad trades, bad draft picks, and more to turn an excellent team led by Garnett into a terrible team with no Garnett and nothing to show for having lost him.

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