Pivotal offseasons sneak up on exciting young teams -- especially with the salary cap expected to flatten after an unprecedented two-year bubble that warped the league.
The young pup Wolves were about to become expensive. Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins become eligible for extensions on July 1, and Wiggins will demand -- and almost surely receive -- a max deal. Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the great young players in recent NBA history, comes calling for his payday in a year.
This was Minnesota's last summer to really play around with its core, on its terms. The Wolves aimed big, flipping LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 pick to the aimless Bulls for Jimmy Butler -- a top-10 player in the league last season, smack in the middle of his absolute prime -- and a draft pick.