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Timberwolves Trade Of Sam Cassell Could Come Back To Haunt Them In 2012 NBA Draft

The Minnesota Timberwolves aren't known for their luck. Fans of the team, media covering the team and even president of basketball operations David Kahn, who is running the team, will surely tell anyone willing to listen that this is a proven fact -- especially following last week's "loss" in the NBA Draft Lottery.

Looking into SB Nation Minnesota's crystal ball, those people aren't lying.

Take, for example, the fact that the Wolves have two top-twenty picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. Yes, the same draft that's being considering as the worst in over 10 years as most of the top prospects elected to stay in college for an extra year to forgo the possibility of a lockout-shortened season.

Good draft picks, bad draft? Just Minnesota's luck, eh?

Unfortunately, as Wolves fans know all too well, it can always get worse.

On August 12, 2005, the Timberwolves traded Sam Cassell and a future first round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for Marko Jaric and Lionel Chalmers. That future first round pick was top-10 protected through 2011 -- yes, the Wolves' draft pick has been in the top-10 ever since Cassell was traded -- but becomes completely unprotected in 2012.

In layman's terms, this means that the Timberwolves traded a still-pretty-good 35-year-old point guard along with what will more than likely be a very good pick in a very good draft for the right to pay Jaric over $16 million for 220 alongside Randy Foye, Sebastian Telfair, Kirk Snyder, Rashad McCants and whoever else Minnesota's coaching staff trotted out of the backcourt from 2005 through 2008.

Following Jaric's Timberwolves career, the combo-guard with a great looking girlfriend (wife?) spent a season in Memphis before being forced to take his talents back to Europe after connecting on just 33 percent of his field goal attempts with the Grizzlies.

Take a look at Draft Express's 2012 NBA Mock Draft, full of young players with ridiculous upside, and try to justify saying that the Wolves have anything but bad luck. After that, remember that the Wolves second first-round pick they acquired from the Utah Jazz is lottery-protected next season, meaning if the Jazz don't make the playoffs next year, the Wolves don't make a first round draft pick.

Part of this may have to do with bad management (Kevin McHale and Kahn both had hands in these trades), but luck definitely has to play a part.

I'm not ready to call it the Curse of Sam Cassell, but if the Wolves miss out on the über-deep 2012 NBA Draft, that's where we're headed.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.