For a season that could not get any worse for the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose 109-94 loss versus the Seattle Supersonics on Sunday officially eliminated them from the playoffs, team owner Glen Taylor made he feelings known about the reason why. Acc
According to an article in the Wednesday, Apr. 13 edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Taylor said that the acquisitions of guards Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell two off-seasons ago was something he regrets doing-despite the fact that it was because of those two veterans Minnesota won a franchise record 58 games and led them to the Western Conference finals a year ago.
“This was an expensive financial decision; certainly, financial wise, it was a poor decision on our part,” Taylor said according to FOXSports.com. “Overall, it was just a failed experiment.”
Both Cassell and Sprewell have been targeted as the reason Minnesota has struggled this season because of the distractions they caused with their contract demands. Sprewell, 34 who is making $14 million this season, will be a free agent at seasons end. Cassell, 35 has one year left on his deal, which is at about $6 million. “Our goal was to win the championship,” said Taylor.
“We never expected to be anything other than one of the top four or five teams in the league. And even today, it’s hard to believe we could be anything less than that, when you look at the other teams in the league. It’s hard to believe that, in the Western Conference, there are four teams that are better than us.”
While Cassell and Sprewell have been at the forefront of this disappointing season for the Timberwolves, according to interim head coach Kevin McHale, the entire team is to blame for this tough season. It has been made quite clear that Taylor has been unhappy with his teams play in the final weeks of the season. He was especially disappointed when his team lost 105-98 to the Atlanta Hawks.
“That’s what happens when your team doesn’t bond and come together,” he said. “Glen’s the owner of the team. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion. The whole thing did not turn out very well this year. That’s not just Latrell and Sam. The whole team never worked out.”
Despite the Timberwolves 116-100 victory this past Wednesday versus the Golden State Warriors, Taylor told Cassell that his future with the Timberwolves next season was in serious doubt. “He told me right there he don’t want me back,” Cassell said about Taylor’s critical comments Wednesday. “You don’t experiment with something, and it doesn’t work.
Would you try it again?” With all those problems though, the Timberwolves (42-37) still have a slim chance to catch the Memphis Grizzles (44-35), who lost to the Denver Nuggets 111-102 on Friday night. That coupled with Minnesota’s 100-84 win at Utah, their third consecutive victory has cut Memphis’s lead two games on the loss side, but have three tough games remaining, a home and home with the San Antonio Spurs Saturday and Monday and they close out the season versus the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday.
The Timberwolves have three games left versus the Seattle Supersonics Sunday, at New Orleans Hornets Monday and Wednesday versus the Spurs. “When you have played as poorly as they did and you are as disjointed a group as they’ve been all season long, that kind of charma will eventually catch up to you,” EPSN NBA analyst Greg Anthony said Friday.
What is ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves now is they will have to find a new head coach because Kevin McHale, who replaced Flip Saunders after he was fired in February, has made it clear that he does not want to coach next year. They will also have to make a decision on what moves they can make in order to get this back to the winning level they had a year ago.
While Sprewell and Cassell have enough value where the Timberwolves get something in return if they do decide to trade the two veteran guards. Cassell said that he will have a long discussion with superstar forward Kevin Garnett about his future in the off-season.
“I know for a fact he trusts me when I’m on the basketball court,” Cassell said. “The only thing I can say is seven, eight months from now, I’ll be back to the old Sam.”
One thing is clear, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be a different and according to McHale and Taylor, a team that possess an attitude of “selfishness.” “I think in all businesses and stuff, there is always some selfishness,” Taylor said.
“Usually, you’re able to moderate that toward the team goal. But we’re having a difficult time doing that, and it will be how I will focus toward next year-what players are really leading the team, and what players are causing that, and is it something we can change? And if it’s something that we can’t change, I guess we’ll have to change the players.”