The Minnesota Timberwolves are ready to make some serious noise next season, as they parade a loaded lineup spearheaded by their new Big 3. Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and newly-acquired All-Star Jimmy Butler. The three will be front and center throughout the Wolves’ campaign next season, looking to end the longest active playoff drought in the NBA at 14 seasons.

The Butler trade

After two disappointing seasons, Tom Thibodeau abandoned the OKC Thunder’s model of building a contender through the draft and proceeded to acquire two-way star Jimmy Butler. The Wolves coach and general manager sacrificed two of the team’s promising backcourt players (Zach Lavine and Kris Dunn) and the no.7 pick in order to get a player who can speed up his team’s growth.

However, NBA senior writer Zach Lowe of ESPN reported that the Boston Celtics almost foiled the Wolves’ trade plan for Butler. The Celtics were very much capable of offering a better package to the Bulls, but they opted not to pursue the trade because they were not sure if Butler and Gordon Hayward would coexist. “The Celtics had some concerns over how Hayward and Butler would mesh, both on the court and as personalities, sources say,” according to Lowe.

The Butler trade was one of the biggest moves [VIDEO] in an off-season filled with blockbuster deals. ESPN forecast panel even voted Butler the third best player on a new team just behind Rockets’ Chris Paul and Thunder’s Paul George.

Butler, who recorded a performance rating of 44.5 (PER) in clutch situations, is expected to address the Wolves’ need for a scorer in tight contest.

Minnesota blew a lot of winnable games last season because of their inability to protect leads, allowing opposing teams to score 14.3 points per 100 possessions in clutch.

Free agency update

The Wolves have four more vacant spots on their roster. The team is scheduled to host some free agents for workouts this coming weekend in hope of finding quality pick-ups few weeks before training camp. Minnesota is also linked to Shabazz Muhammad and Dante Cunningham, but the team seems no longer interested in pursuing the free agents.

The next elite

Las Vegas odds-makers projected the new-look Wolves to win by 17 more wins from last season’s record of 31-51. As for Minnesota’s future, many pundits think this team can become one of NBA’s elite teams in the next 2 or 3 years, especially if their current core players live up to expectations.

The Wolves have Super Team potential written all over them. Still, the verdict on whether or not they are the next Golden State Warriors will be determined on their performance this coming season.