After ending a 13-year playoff drought this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves fell at the first hurdle as they were eliminated by the impressive Houston Rockets.
There was no disgrace in losing to the number one seed in the west but the T-Wolves will be disappointed by the manner of their exit as they managed just one win and struggled to put up a real fight.
Their young duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins found it tough to assert themselves in their first appearance in the postseason and it was clear that All-Star Jimmy Butler wasn't at 100 percent after coming back from a knee injury.
But overall, there are positives to take away from this campaign for Minnesota and they've certainly got a foundation to build on for the coming years.
That, however, will be dependent on them keeping hold of their best players and building around them.
It's, therefore, no surprise that the franchise is prioritising re-signing both Towns and Butler to long-term deals this summer.
The latter was acquired from the Chicago Bulls in a trade last summer and has become a talismanic figure in just one year with the team.
Before he suffered his injury, the Timberwolves were fourth in the conference but they quickly descended in his absence and only secured the eighth spot with a win over the Denver Nuggets in the final game of the regular season thanks to a huge display by the veteran.
The shooting guard can become a free agent in 2019 but owner Glen Taylor is hoping to have him tied down before he can hit the open market.
“Well, we’re working on it,” Taylor said, per Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
He referred to Butler as a “very important part of our future” who brings a “personality and a skill-set” that’s different from his team’s younger players.
Taylor also stated that he wants to give himself and the team's key decision makers - which includes head coach and president Tom Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden - time to ponder before making any moves.
Signing Towns to a lengthy extension should be much easier for them to do as they'll be able to offer him a max deal when his rookie contract expires.
Building a core led by the experienced Butler and the ever-improving Towns will set the organisation up for the years to come.
But having already given Wiggins a huge deal last year, they'll have big decisions to make regarding the rest of their roster and how they can put together a competitive team without going too far over the salary cap.
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