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The Minnesota Sports Mt. Rushmore of Financial Disappointment

posted Mar 7, 2019, 7:26 AM by Dan Whenesota   [ updated Apr 3, 2019, 10:12 AM ]

As we watch the Timberwolves season crash and burn, all anyone wants to talk about is Andrew Wiggins.  His lackluster and lethargic play has frustrated many of us.  But what do we do?  He’s in the 2nd year of a 5 year max contract worth 148 million guaranteed.  Do you bench him?  Release him?  As KFAN’s Justin Gaard suggested, his underwhelming play might improve our draft position at this point so why not just leave him out there? 

Our frustration with Wiggins isn’t about him personally.  I see photos of him with his kids at Target Center and he seems like a good person.  But that’s not the point.  Our frustration is about how much money the team is paying him and what results the team is getting in return. 

To be honest, I don’t fault Wiggins.  If someone offered me 100 Million to play basketball, I’d sign the contract too, and I suck.   The fault lies with those who made that deal (I’m looking at you Taylor and Thibs).  But blaming them isn’t what this blog is about either.   

I don’t know how it works in other markets, but it seems that here in Minnesota, each of our ‘big 4’ teams have gone ‘all in’ on contracts with a player (in terms of money, duration or both) that have left the fanbase somewhat underwhelmed.

So without further ado, I give you… The Minnesota Sports Mount Rushmore of Financial Disappointment. 

Four players, one monument, built on dollars and disappointment.  One face from each of Minnesota’s big 4 teams who signed large contracts and may not have lived up to expectations.  Disclaimer: I’M NOT SAYING THEY WERE BUSTS!   To me, ‘expectations’ means having stats comparable if not better than other players that are making the same money…and maybe, just maybe have some playoff success.  

Since Wiggins was our inspiration, lets start with the Wolves. 

Kevin Garnett
Garnett might be the only person on this list who truly has some competition.  Between Wiggins, Love and Rubio there may be some debate.  As long as Taylor is at the helm, there is a potential that he’ll make another mistake like the one he made with Wiggins.  Garnett is also the only person on our monument who’s made it to a conference finals.  But in terms of money and years, KG currently sits atop the leaderboard for the Wolves.  Also adding to his nomination: For as good as he was, he could never take over in the 4th quarter when we needed him to.  

Monument Stats
Seasons: 15 (12 the first time, 3 post-Celtics)
Total money made: $209,450,000 ($180,950,000 + 28,500,000)
Money yet due:  $0 - Retired
Playoff series record: 2-7
Championships: 0  (1 for the Celtics – Suck it Boston)


Joe Mauer
This entry might cross the line of ‘Minnesota nice’. Everyone loves Joe.  He’s one of us, a hometown boy.  Joe had a great career, probably a Hall of Fame career.  He had many individual accomplishments (batting titles and All-Star selections).  But, in my mind the issue can be summed up like this.  He was a singles hitter, but paid slugger money.  Also, the contract weighed heavily on a team that has a history of not spending a lot on player’s salaries.  Because they were all in on him, it made them less likely to spend more to build around him.  He also never seemed to be a “jump on my back” kind of guy like Kirby was.  Although, I will argue that the Pohlad’s got return on the investment and plenty of mileage out of him being a home town kid whether they won baseball games or not.  Unfortunately, the fans who would rather have championships, weren’t so lucky.   

Monument Stats
Seasons:  15
Total money made:  $222,950,000
Money yet due:  $0 – Retired.
Playoff series record:  0-4, and 0-1 Wildcard game
Championships:  0

 

Zach Parise
Parise signed a 13 year 98 million dollar contract in 2012.  Ryan Suter also signed a similar contract at the same time.  The reason we are choosing Parise over Suter, is that Parise is a Minnesotan and all of his contract is guaranteed.  (I cant seem to find if Suter’s contract is guaranteed or not).  Parise is definitely not a bust.  He is a good player, but just not what we thought he would be in terms of goal scoring and the numbers he put up in New Jersey.  In addition, he seems to be often injured and when you throw in the Wild’s lack of playoff success it makes him the front runner to represent the Wild on our monument.  

Monument Stats
Seasons (with Wild):  7
Total money made:  $70,170,732
Money yet due:  $27,000,000 guaranteed with 6 years left on contract
Playoff series record:  2-6
Championships:  0

 

Kirk Cousins
Our final entry is a hotly debated topic among Minnesotans and non-Minnesotans alike.  After reaching the NFC championship in 2018 the Vikings released Case Keenum and signed Kirk Cousins to a 3 year 84 million dollar deal.  Because of the previous year’s success, this signing shot expectations through the roof.  The Vikings responded by laying an egg last season and missed the playoffs.  The offensive line was a big part of that, but Cousins has been criticized for his play as well, often checking down with receivers open downfield.  Of all the people on our monument, Cousins may have the best chance to redeem his nomination and be chiseled off at some point based on how well the Vikings play the next few seasons.  Skol.

Monument Stats
Seasons:  1
Total money made:  $24,000,000
Money yet due: $60,000,000 guaranteed and 2 years left on contract
Playoff record:  0-0
Championships:  0

 

So what have we learned?  Should our teams stop spending money?  Spending is related to winning.  But we can’t be stupid about it.  I once heard a sports analyst say, “If you’re more concerned about balancing your checkbook than winning, well, that’s the type of team you’re going to have.”  I think the one takeaway in all of this is just how important a good GM is.  Not only do they need to be good at evaluating talent, but they also need to be smart fiscally.  Also, I think we’ve learned how important the supporting cast is.   These are all TEAM sports, even though the NBA may not seem like it at times.   But even in the NBA, unless you have Michael Jordan you need a supporting cast.  Let me rephrase… you need a GOOD supporting cast, and that costs money. 

I look forward to hearing comments and debate on this.  Feel free to tweet at me or message me. 

 

References: Spotrac, Baseball Reference, Hockey Reference and Wikipedia

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