- Here's a list of the biggest Minnesota Timberwolves trades in franchise history.
- Kevin Love leads the list of players Minnesota received through trade.
- Other notable players the Timberwolves acquired were Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, and Rudy Gobert.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have only qualified for the NBA playoffs 11 times since joining the league in 1989 as an expansion team. This particularly low number has routinely placed them at the bottom of NBA title basketball odds.
Other evidence of the Timberwolves’ franchise woes is they’re one of the NBA teams that have never won a championship and one of the NBA teams never to reach the NBA Finals. Because of this franchise’s lack of success, they tried to bring in players via big-time trades. Here’s a list of the top-four players that Minnesota acquired through trades.
Minnesota and Memphis had a huge trade during the 2008 NBA Draft when the Timberwolves agreed to trade their third overall pick O.J. Mayo for the Grizzlies’ fifth overall pick, Kevin Love. Six other players (Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins, Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, and Greg Buckner) were involved in this massive eight-man deal. It was a big risk for Minnesota because Mayo became the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award in 2009.
However, Love became the team’s latest legitimate superstar since Kevin Garnett, as he became a three-time NBA All-Star and won the Most Improved Player honor in 2011. The 6-foot-8 sweet-shooting power forward suited up for the T-Wolves for six seasons; although they failed to punch a ticket to the playoffs during his stay with the team, Love averaged 19.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 364 games.
After Kevin Love made Minnesota relevant again, he was traded in 2014 to become a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ biggest trades. The Timberwolves sent Love to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, and a trade exception. The Western Conference team had high hopes for the former Kansas standout, and Wiggins immediately lived up to that expectation.
The 6-foot-7 forward won the 2015 Rookie of the Year award and also made the All-Rookie 1st Team. Wiggins also played a big part in snapping the franchise’s 13-year playoff drought in 2018. Before Minnesota traded him away to the Warriors in 2020, Wiggins played for 442 games and racked up 19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.
Before making it to the biggest Miami Heat trades, Jimmy Butler first made a pit stop in Minnesota after Chicago went on a full rebuild in 2017. In exchange for Butler, the Timberwolves shipped Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and their 2017 seventh-overall pick that turned out to be Lauri Markkanen. Along with Butler, the team also acquired the rights to Chicago’s 16th pick Justin Patton from the deal.
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) June 23, 2017
Before arriving on the team, Butler was already a three-time NBA All-Star and a recipient of the Most Improved Player Award in 2015. “Jimmy Buckets” proved that it was a valuable trade, as he led the team’s offense with his 22.2 points per game output in his first season, thus helping them qualify for the postseason for the first time in 13 years. Unfortunately, the relationship of Butler with the team didn’t last long, as he was traded to Philadelphia the following season.
The latest massive trade that the Timberwolves executed was the acquisition of three-time Defensive Player of the Year awardee and three-time All-Star Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz in July 2022 for multiple players and future draft picks. Minnesota paid a hefty price in the deal by sending Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, four future first-round picks, and a future pick swap.
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) July 6, 2022
This move by the franchise raised several eyebrows, but the 7-foot-1 center erased the doubts by bringing his double-double output of 13.4 points and 11.6 rebounds with 1.4 blocks in 70 games for his first season with the Timberwolves. Gobert also formed a dynamic duo with Karl Anthony-Towns, and they helped secure the eighth seed in the 2023 Western Conference playoffs.
4 Biggest Minnesota Timberwolves Trades
|Timberwolves received: Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins / Grizzlies received: O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner
|Timberwolves received: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, and a trade exception / Cavaliers received: Kevin Love / Sixers received: Luc Mbah A Moute and Alexey Shved
|Timberwolves received: Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton / Bulls received: Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen
|Timberwolves received: Rudy Gobert / Jazz received: Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, four future first-round picks, and a future pick swap
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