The Kevin McHale Era is over. The time had come for Minnesota Timberwolves to let their coach go.
More often than not, I think teams fire coaches and executives far too quickly. I doubt many would feel that way this time around.
During his run with the team, McHale drafted Kevin Garnett, which is the best move made in franchise history.
However, his inability to win with Garnett, coupled with KG winning an NBA title in his first year after being traded for Minnesota, will likely be his legacy in the eyes of many fans.
The decision to part with McHale came about 10 years later than I expected. It’s kind of amazing when you think about it. McHale’s secret contract with Joe Smith prior to the 1998-99 season – against NBA rules, of course – led to the Wolves losing three of their next five first-round draft picks. More than anything else, this move spoiled the Garnett years.
To get past the first round of the playoffs with Garnett just once is not good enough. A team like Minnesota – which is never going to be a favorable landing spot for free agents – needs the draft more than most teams for that reason. It’s not L.A. or Miami. And it’s hard to overspend for free agents when the league has a salary cap with a maximum contract players are available to receive.
The thousands of empty seats at the Target Center last season provided an ugly backdrop for the team. And now, the Wolves have decided to move on.