Draft and trade rumors, Kahn denies trade rumors and more
"I really like Kurt as a human being," Kahn said. "I think when it comes to watching players, he has a very keen eye. Especially when it comes to development, he's especailly astute at picking out the areas a player needs to work and how difficult it would be to develop those aspects."
Rambis and Kahn did not know each other before they joined up with the Timberwolves, but the coach said it didn't take long to develop a plan for the future of a franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2004.
"We see this as a tremendous challenge and a tremendous opportunity," Rambis said. "It's challenging, yet it would be fun to be able to get this franchise up to an elite level. We just like that competitive environment. We were on the same page since day one because we had a good understanding of what we wanted and what our vision was."
The vision is simple
get bigger, faster and more athletic. The easiest way to do that is to draft well.
One of which just might be trading Jefferson, or Love.
Somebody asked Kahn on Tuesday if both players will be on the roster at the end of draft night.
"Don't know," he said. "I assume so. I don't have any reason to say otherwise. But if I say yes conclusively, that would be everything opposite of what I've said: We have to be proactive and aggressive and look at every single opportunity to make this team better and still maintain a young team that will play an up-tempo style. That's what we intend to do."
Jonah Ballow: And a different situation this year with the Timberwolves now that you're the head coach in place and a little bit more stability with Tony Ronzone as the assistant GM, how does that change the role in the war room with David Kahn, yourself, and Tony?
Kurt Rambis: This is the make-up of our front office for awhile, we still might be able to add another assistant general manager as we move forward, but instead of having people that may or may not be here, we've got a stable front office, and we're getting a consensus of opinion and sometimes it's a varied opinion, when people have to strongly assert themselves as to what they see and what their vision is, but it's good to have everyone in early so we can talk and digest all of these options.
The ideal formula for the Wolves in the coming weeks? Make the right call at No. 4. Package a current player (Brewer?) with the remaining picks and make a trade. Then sign a B-list free agent. Basically, they need to set the table for Rubio and convince him that Minnesota is the place to be.
It starts Thursday, where the Wolves finally must show everybody that the Draft is the place to be. A big win here would make us forget the 15 they managed all year.
From Twolves Blog: What to do with the #4???
Yes, Favors won't help you win tomorrow, but a Rubio-Favors pairing for the next decade if you could make it happen?
Now, that's getting you somewhere, much like when the Wolves drafted Kevin Garnett and Steph Marbury in back-to-back years long ago (oh, well, never mind, we know how that turned out).
From there, the remaining pieces are comparatively easy to find.
All that seems clear is Kahn is keeping his options open. And that should be perceived as both intriguing and a little scary, given that Thursday night well could define the Kahn Era in Minnesota -- even if Kahn wants to make sure no one rushes to judgment.
Asked on Tuesday how important draft night will be, Kahn said, "Very, but not exclusively. It's very important, but not exclusively, and there will be -- I will say this, too, that I wouldn't presume that, if we take a player somewhere, anywhere, Thursday night (necessarily) means that player, just because of the nature of the beast these days and the volatility of the league, that we might have to make a move with a player that we pick Thursday night and package in a subsequent deal."
Which is a roundabout way of saying what we think we know late Thursday night may prove false by Friday afternoon.
Draft Rumors and Kahn's reaction:
From Chad Ford/ESPN:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been burning up the phone lines the last few days looking for a trade.
They've discussed deals to move up to No. 2 for Evan Turner, a 4-for-7 swap with the Pistons, and have looked at moving their other draft picks (16 and 23) to either get up in the draft or to add another veteran.
However, the most consistent thing I'm hearing is that the team appears to be determined to move Al Jefferson. According to sources the Wolves have offered him to Detroit for Tayshaun Prince this week and have also contacted the Pacers about their interest in Jefferson for Troy Murphy's expiring contract.
However, the latest thing I'm hearing out of Minnesota may have the most legs. Sources have told me that the Wolves and Grizzlies have been discussing a swap that would send Jefferson to the Grizzlies for Zach Randolph.
Jefferson for Randolph talks appear dead. Memphis is unwilling to part with their picks as part of a deal. Minn thinks they can do better
Apparently Minnesota is offering 16+23+Al Jefferson to Detroit for 7+Tayshaun Prince+Chris Wilcox. Not sure Detroit goes for that...
From Chad Ford/ESPN:
I'm not sure if Minnesota will greet the news with joy or relief. They focused in on Johnson early but got comfortable with the idea of taking Favors at 4 over the course of the last 24 hours. The Wolves continue to look for an Al Jefferson deal after being rebuffed by Detroit over the weekend (Wolves offered Jefferson for Tayshaun Prince and No. 7) and the Grizzlies (for Zach Randolph) earlier in the day.
Just talked briefly with David Kahn, who dismissed this afternoon's rumor du jour that he'd trade Al Jefferson for Zach Randolph and his expiring contract.
"There's nothing to it," Kahn said.
"Memphis asked us about Zach and we said no," Kahn said this afternoon in a text message to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "And I have not spoken with Detroit."
Kahn had a more emphatic response about the alleged Murphy deal.
"Murphy is yet another in a long line of desperation Hail Mary's put out by Indiana on all our players," Kahn said.
From Andy Katz/ESPN:
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves are also continuing to talk to Memphis about sending the No. 16 pick for the No. 25 and 28 selections. A source with knowledge of the T-Wolves draft process told ESPN.com that they would keep the No. 4 selection and choose either Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson if he were available or Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors if the New Jersey Nets select Johnson at No. 3. The Timberwolves, who have the most picks in the draft with five, are looking to move at least one or two of the picks and are listening to multiple deals. One deal that multiple sources said won’t happen is shipping Al Jefferson to Memphis for Zach Randolph. Jefferson is on the trade block, but his camp has been assured that he wouldn’t go to Memphis. Jefferson’s camp, according to sources, is hoping he lands with a playoff team or one that is getting closer.
From Andy Katz/TrueHoop:
According to sources, the Nets will look at trying to obtain Boozer or Toronto’s Chris Bosh or as a fallback Minnesota’s Al Jefferson, who has been made available by the Timberwolves in a possible trade.
Meanwhile, Favors said he has no idea where he’ll land and isn’t sweating the Thursday night drama.
From an ESPN Chat with Ryen Russillo:
Sean B. (Minneapolis)
Can the Timberwolves possobly screw up this years draft worse than last years?
Ryen Russillo (4:09 PM)
Sean, I think people are kind of unfair about the T-Wolves. Rubio is going to be good. They screwed up with Johnny Flynn, but since it was Kahn's first run at it and he's not an ex-player, people just assume he's an idiot. If they end up with Favors or Cousins left on the board at #4, they are going to be thrilled.
Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't serious wrangling going on also. For instance, New Jersey, which holds the third pick, is trying to bait lightly- regarded Minnesota president of basketball operations David Kahn into making a mistake.