Athletes We Wish Never Left MN

Kevin Garnett was the face of the Timberwolves after getting drafted by Minnesota out of high school. 
But after 12 years, the Big Ticket was traded to the Celtics and won a title for Boston.
Oh, and the Wolves haven't made the playoffs since.
(credit: Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Garnett Kevin Garnett was the face of the Timberwolves after getting drafted by Minnesota out of high school. But after 12 years, the Big Ticket was traded to the Celtics and won a title for Boston. Oh, and the Wolves haven't made the playoffs since. (credit: Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Pro Bowlers' antics (specifically the Full Moon at Lambeau) ended up getting him traded to Oakland in 2005 for a no-name LB and a first-round draft pick (which became the immense disappointment known as Troy Williamson). 
Moss nearly faded away in Oakland, but once in New England his game reached new heights.
And yes, he actually did return to Minnesota in 2010 for a brief stint, but it was a bit too late as his once electric skill set had lost its high-powered wattage.
(credit: HEATHER HALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Randy Moss The Pro Bowlers' antics (specifically the Full Moon at Lambeau) ended up getting him traded to Oakland in 2005 for a no-name LB and a first-round draft pick (which became the immense disappointment known as Troy Williamson). Moss nearly faded away in Oakland, but once in New England his game reached new heights. And yes, he actually did return to Minnesota in 2010 for a brief stint, but it was a bit too late as his once electric skill set had lost its high-powered wattage. (credit: HEATHER HALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Twins fans still lament the departure of Big Papi.
Playing for the Twins from 1997-2002, multiple wrist injuries and knee problems pushed Minnesota to release David Ortiz.
And that's when his role in Boston lore was solidified, helping lead the Red Sox to two World Series titles, becoming an eight-time All-Star, and leading the league in home runs in 2006.
(credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
David Ortiz Twins fans still lament the departure of Big Papi. Playing for the Twins from 1997-2002, multiple wrist injuries and knee problems pushed Minnesota to release David Ortiz. And that's when his role in Boston lore was solidified, helping lead the Red Sox to two World Series titles, becoming an eight-time All-Star, and leading the league in home runs in 2006. (credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Point guard Chauncey Billups led the Wolves to the playoffs in 2002, but a knee injury and the Timberwolves' salary-cap issues led to him signing with Detroit.
Two years later he earned NBA Finals MVP honors as the Pistons topped the LA Lakers for the league title.
(credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chauncey Billups Point guard Chauncey Billups led the Wolves to the playoffs in 2002, but a knee injury and the Timberwolves' salary-cap issues led to him signing with Detroit. Two years later he earned NBA Finals MVP honors as the Pistons topped the LA Lakers for the league title. (credit: David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Torii Hunter, who had once robbed Barry Bonds of a home run in the 2002 All-Star Game, was one of the most beloved Twins.
But he turned down Minnesota's offer in 2007 for a more lucrative option from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Twins have yet to find a center fielder with the same amount of power at the plate, range in the outfield, and charisma in the locker room.
(credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Torii Hunter Torii Hunter, who had once robbed Barry Bonds of a home run in the 2002 All-Star Game, was one of the most beloved Twins. But he turned down Minnesota's offer in 2007 for a more lucrative option from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Twins have yet to find a center fielder with the same amount of power at the plate, range in the outfield, and charisma in the locker room. (credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Back in 1996-98, Marbury and Garnett had Timberwolves fans thinking big after the guard averaged 15.8 points and 7.8 assists per game his rookie year. But the dynamic guard was traded to New Jersey and became an All-Star.
Oh, and don't forget that the Wolves traded Ray Allen and a future first-round pick away during the 1996 draft to nab Marbury.
(credit: Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephon Marbury Back in 1996-98, Marbury and Garnett had Timberwolves fans thinking big after the guard averaged 15.8 points and 7.8 assists per game his rookie year. But the dynamic guard was traded to New Jersey and became an All-Star. Oh, and don't forget that the Wolves traded Ray Allen and a future first-round pick away during the 1996 draft to nab Marbury. (credit: Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images)
After a decade with the Twins playing wherever the club needed him to, Michael Cuddyer found greener pastures with the Colorado Rockies in 2011.
He's been quite hot, too, and at one point during the 2013 season he rode an impressive 27-game hit streak.
(credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Michael Cuddyer After a decade with the Twins playing wherever the club needed him to, Michael Cuddyer found greener pastures with the Colorado Rockies in 2011. He's been quite hot, too, and at one point during the 2013 season he rode an impressive 27-game hit streak. (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Yes, Robert Smith was never traded or flew the coop via free agency. He chose to retire early on his own accord. Doesn't mean fans can't still wish he'd worn purple longer.
After leading the NFC in rushing yards in 2000 with 1,521 – his best year – he called it a career at the end of the season.
(credit: Matthew Stockman /Allsport)
Robert Smith Yes, Robert Smith was never traded or flew the coop via free agency. He chose to retire early on his own accord. Doesn't mean fans can't still wish he'd worn purple longer. After leading the NFC in rushing yards in 2000 with 1,521 – his best year – he called it a career at the end of the season. (credit: Matthew Stockman /Allsport)
The initial face of the Minnesota Wild franchise spent eight seasons with the franchise beginning in its infancy, before being unable to sign with the team in 2009.
He then found a home with the New York Rangers, earning MVP honors at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.
(credit: Elsa/ Getty Images/NHLI)
Marián Gáborík The initial face of the Minnesota Wild franchise spent eight seasons with the franchise beginning in its infancy, before being unable to sign with the team in 2009. He then found a home with the New York Rangers, earning MVP honors at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. (credit: Elsa/ Getty Images/NHLI)
The former Golden Gopher who led Minnesota to a (now vacated) Final Four appearance in 1997 played for the Timberwolves in 1998-2000, but only averaged single-digits in points. 
However, he found his groove after going to Sacramento, averaging as much as 15.2 ppg, making Minnesotans wishing the guard with the tall socks could have done that in the Target Center.
(credit: DAN LEVINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Bobby Jackson The former Golden Gopher who led Minnesota to a (now vacated) Final Four appearance in 1997 played for the Timberwolves in 1998-2000, but only averaged single-digits in points. However, he found his groove after going to Sacramento, averaging as much as 15.2 ppg, making Minnesotans wishing the guard with the tall socks could have done that in the Target Center. (credit: DAN LEVINE/AFP/Getty Images)
The Cold Spring, Minn., native was one of the U of M's best receivers of all time.
That leaves many Minnesota sports fans wishing he could be catching touchdown passes in purple instead of boosting the Broncos to the playoffs year after year.
(credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Eric Decker The Cold Spring, Minn., native was one of the U of M's best receivers of all time. That leaves many Minnesota sports fans wishing he could be catching touchdown passes in purple instead of boosting the Broncos to the playoffs year after year. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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