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Wolves Updates 5/18

Kahn on tonight's draft lottery, Ford: Wolves sending signals to Turner, Team hires Ronzone as asst GM, Darko interested in returning and more

From Jon Krawczynski/AP Sports: 

The Wolves, and a disillusioned fan base that has not seen their team in the postseason since 2004, desperately need something good to happen. The franchise has been eligible for the lottery in 12 of the previous 20 seasons and has never improved its position. Six times the team has stayed in the same spot six times it has fallen.

With that in mind, Kahn spent most of Monday tempering expectations, saying that just because the team is in one spot on Tuesday night does not mean that it will occupy the same position on June 24, the day of the draft’s first round.

The Timberwolves have three first-round draft picks, an abundance of salary cap room and a few attractive contracts to peddle on the trade market to try and move up if need be.

"Tomorrow night is the first step toward understanding where our first pick is," Kahn said, "but it’s not the last step, no matter where we finish."



From Phil Miller/Star Tribune:

It's an awkward prospect for the Timberwolves, who drafted three point guards last June. But Wolves President David Kahn didn't sound hesitant Monday about his decision to add yet another point guard if Minnesota's 1-in-5 odds pay off. "I don't see it as a problem. It'll be fun if that's what happens," Kahn said. "You have to take the best player."

That doesn't mean the Wolves have settled on Wall. Actually, Kahn said, there are three players potentially worthy of being chosen No. 1, although he wouldn't identify who he ranks with Wall and Ohio State guard Evan Turner, the consensus top two picks.

"I don't think we'll try to overthink it and be cute. I think you take the best player at the top of the draft," Kahn said.


From Ray Richardson/Pioneer Press:

Considering the Timberwolves' bad luck in the NBA lottery, David Kahn, the team's president of basketball operations, agreed to try something different when he made good on a promise to KFAN-AM host Paul Allen. Kahn was a guest on Allen's show the day before the Kentucky Derby when Allen proposed on-air that if Super Saver won the Derby, he would accompany Kahn to New Jersey to help bring the Wolves good luck.

Super Saver won, so Allen and Kahn were scheduled to fly together to New Jersey for the lottery on Monday afternoon.


From Chad Ford/ESPN:

Is it just me or are the Timberwolves the only team in the group that could theoretically screw this up -- even if they get the No. 1 pick? Last year the team took three point guards in the first round (it traded one of them, Ty Lawson, on draft night). GM David Kahn is infatuated with Ricky Rubio and may not want to scare him off any more than he already has by drafting John Wall.

In fact, I heard over the weekend from a source inside Evan Turner's camp that the Wolves have sent signals to Turner that he, not Wall, would be their pick if they win the lottery. I'm a big Rubio fan, but if the Wolves get the No. 1 pick, they should trade Jonny Flynn if they can get a good offer for him. If not, they should keep Flynn and deal the rights to Wall for something of equal value. There's no guarantee when or if Rubio will ever play for them.


From the Timberwolves site: David Kahn talks about the future of the Wolves and possible outcomes in this year's NBA Draft (VIDEO)




From the Timberwolves site:  David Kahn talks about the hiring of Tony Ronzone to the Timberwolves family (VIDEO)


From Phil Miller/Star Tribune:

Tony Ronzone, who helped the Mavericks uncover Dirk Nowitzki, spent his first official day as the Timberwolves' new assistant general manager learning his new roster and organizing the team's overhaul efforts. Ronzone, who spent the past nine years with the Pistons and also is in charge of international scouting for Team USA, will serve as team president David Kahn's top lieutenant in next month's draft.

It's a promotion for Ronzone, who said he couldn't turn down a chance to rebuild the last-place Wolves. "There's an opportunity with five draft picks, a lot of opportunity to get better," he said. "For me, it's a passion to do whatever I can to help an organization get better."




From Ray Richardson/Pioneer Press:

Kahn said he spoke last week with free-agent center Darko Milicic's agent, Marc Cornstein, who told him Milicic is interested in returning to the Wolves. The 7-foot native of Serbia Montenegro started 18 of 24 games with the Wolves after he was traded Feb. 17 from the New York Knicks.

"It's my understanding that Darko would like to come back with us," Kahn said of the seven-year veteran. "He sees pieces to build around here and knows further pieces are coming, and he would like to be a part of it."

The Wolves must wait until July 1 to begin negotiations with Milicic and other free agents.



From Jonah Ballow/Timberwolves site: 1-on-1 with David Kahn

Jonah Ballow:  And speaking of some overseas players, [Nikola] Pekovic, is there any news on him as far as when he could make an arrival here in Minneapolis and how he is looking overseas as well?

David Kahn: I met with his agent while we were there together; we had dinner one night in Paris as we intended to do. And the next step in the process I'm anxious to have our coach Kurt Rambis accompany me to Europe. We are going to go over late this month and I want him to see Pekovic play in person and then we'll figure out how to proceed from there. So, we are taking that one very methodically but I think that there is no doubt that Nikola would very much like to come over next year. He thinks he is ready to play in the NBA, from what I've seen, I believe he is as well.