Wolves trade Big Al to Utah, team not done making moves this summer, Love wants to be a starter, Wolves summer league team practices in Vegas and more
The Timberwolves agreed to send Jefferson to the Jazz for two future first-round draft picks and center Kosta Koufos, the teams confirmed Tuesday evening. A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it also included a traded player exception for salary-cap flexibility, but that was not included in the Timberwolves' announcement.
Minnesota general manager David Kahn seemed to echo those sentiments. "Al is motivated to have a career-defining season, and I recognize the Jazz will be the recipients of that, not us. I expect him to help Utah immensely," Kahn said in a statement.
Saying goodbye to Jefferson, the Wolves' leading scorer last season (17.1 points) and No. 2 rebounder (9.3), cuts the last link to the Kevin Garnett trade in 2007 that former Wolves general manager Kevin McHale negotiated
with the Boston Celtics.
Jefferson, 25, was the last remaining player of the five former Celtics who came to Minnesota in a deal that generated dramatic change for the franchise. The other four — Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and Gerald Green — have moved on. Jefferson and Gomes had the longest tenures with the Wolves, surviving three losing seasons.
Kahn met with Jefferson and Love in back-to-back breakfast meetings in Minnesota last weekend and laid out the future for both. He said he told Jefferson he'd likely be traded in the coming week, and he said he told Love that his future with the Wolves is secure.
Asked if Jefferson had asked to be traded, Kahn said, "I think both sides independently came to the same conclusion. He recognized we were at least a couple more years away from becoming a winning team, and I completely understood where he was coming from. I'm very happy for Al. He's just been so professional throughout all of this."
Kahn said he considers Tuesday's trade affirmation that Love is part of the team's long-term future.
David Kahn just said here in Las Vegas that he has already talked to Koufos' agent and will try to move Koufos on a team where he might play more than on a Wolves team that now has Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic and soon Nikola Pekovic.
From Phil Mackey/1500 ESPN: David Kahn discusses Jefferson trade, says Wolves aren't done dealing
What about the cap flexibility you now have?
The flexibility is enormous. Not just now, but as I envision what we do later this summer. We're only about halfway through this exercise. I think we may be able to accomplish these goals without adding too much to our salary structure.
If there's an opportunity for us to acquire another player that helps us, acquire picks, just be really opportunistic... A lot of that goes behind what went into this trade and why we chose to do it this summer.
Love very reluctantly accepted a sixth-man role for the final two-plus months of last season, but sometimes not without moping. That role was raised again at an exit meeting he had with Rambis after the season ended in April.
"Kurt mentioned, 'Don't get so caught up in being a sixth man,'" Love said. "I feel like I'm a starter. I want to be a starter. Sixth man is and will be kind of hard for me to accept on this team. If this was the Lakers and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were in front of me, it'd be different.
After dealing away Jefferson and his huge contract, the Wolves' oldest player is Ryan Hollins (25) and their highest-paid player is Beasley (just a hair under $5 million).
If Kahn was indeed hired to win a championship and not just cut costs for a CEO (Moor) who thinks the Clippers are a model franchise, then what is Kahn poised to do?
Answer: Just about whatever he wants.
Little by little, the Timberwolves' grand plan has been revealed. Now we are fully able to grasp what is happening: David Kahn is on a mission to stockpile average players. That isn't a knock. After a 15-67 season fueled by a roster teeming with substandard players, "average" looks pretty sensational.
From Mike McCollow/FSN: Jefferson the latest Kahn casualty
In other words, the trade might be salvageable if Kahn had shown at any point he has an actual plan for this franchise.
This man is a menace who is turning an already bad franchise into something well beyond "horrible" and into an area the Clippers don't even occupy with regularity. Treat Kahn as the villain he is, not like some lovable pet who runs into a coffee table and spills soda all over the floor.
Ultimately, this trade was one both teams had to make because the alternatives were unattractive, even if this doesn't feel great. The Jazz could ill-afford to begin the season without bringing in a replacement for Boozer's production and Jefferson's trade value wasn't going to increase when the season began and Kahn would be forced into increasing his desperation.
Grade for Wolves: B+
From John Hollinger/ESPN:
Regardless, a frontcourt with Love, Michael Beasley, Nikola Pekovic and Darko Milicic will be a considerable improvement on last season's unit at both ends of the floor. The Wolves likely will spend another year in the basement, but one can at least see the kernels of a foundation taking shape.
From Kurt Helin/ProBasketballTalk: Al Jefferson traded to Jazz for picks. Minnesota's self destruction continues.
If fans are willing to be as patient as Kahn plans to be, the potential for entertaining basketball exists.
No matter what kind of beating Kahn takes from punchline seekers around the country, he has to get credit for remaking this team into something with potential.
FWIW, I think Kahn takes too much abuse. They had to dump Jefferson & if they use their TPE well, it will be a good trade for Wolves.
The second day in Las Vegas presented a golden opportunity for the Wolves to hit the practice floor and work as a unit following the loss to San Antonio on Monday. Unfortunately, a couple of Orangemen were limited in the practice session as Jonny Flynn deals with an injured hip and Wesley Johnson is suffering from a sore hamstring.
Flynn participated in a portion of the practice but mostly used his tremendous energy to provide support.
Johnson is the rare summer league player who will look better playing with and against the best players in the world rather than trying to dominate the rookies and fringe prospects that populate NBA Summer League rosters. When Johnson's teammates start looking for him and setting him up with opportunities to finish plays, he'll shine as an offensive player while making an impact on the defensive end. Johnson probably won't be a superstar in the NBA, but he has a very good chance of being an above-average starter in this league for a very long time. Teams can, and have, done much worse things with a top-five pick.
From the Pioneer Press: Sansevere's Huddle: Will David Kahn's wheeling and dealing result in more victories for the Timberwolves? (AUDIO)