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Updated: July 12th, 2010 9:42pm
Al Jefferson 'represents to many teams a chance to land a premiere player'

Al Jefferson 'represents to many teams a chance to land a premiere player'

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Al Jefferson trade rumors continued to swirl on Monday with ESPNDallas.com reporting the Wolves and Mavericks are in constant communication, and with ESPN's Mark Stein adding that Utah "has quickly moved into lead" in Jefferson sweepstakes.

Wolves general manager David Kahn held a conference call on Monday night -- not to provide details on Jefferson trade talks, but rather to officially announce the signings of Darko Milicic, Wes Johnson and Lazar Hayward">Lazar Hayward, and the acquisition of Michael Beasley from Miami.

Of course, Kahn fielded Jefferson questions anyways.

"There's a lot of interest right now in Al, because most of the major free agents have signed," Kahn said. "He represents to many teams a chance to land a premiere player.

"The phone has been ringing a lot."

Per Stein's report, the Jazz are looking to wrap up a trade using primarily draft picks. The trade exception Utah received from the Bulls in the Carlos Boozer sign-and-trade gives them leeway to avoid sending contracts back to the Wolves.

Dallas, on the other hand, according to the ESPNDallas.com report, would have to part ways with Erick Dampier's $13 million, non-guaranteed expiring contract -- a huge salary cap chip for any team acquiring it -- or some combination of salaries to match Jefferson's $13 million.

Kahn, who had breakfast with Jefferson on Saturday morning, said the two "have been in close contact throughout this whole process."

"I told him I admired him for his professionalism," Kahn said. "He doesn't seem to feel awkward about it.

"I told him we would do what's best for him and what's best for us."

Kahn also added that he's never considered trading Jefferson as a necessity, but "we have to explore our opportunities there."

NOTES

* The Wolves officially acquired Beasley for second round picks in 2011 and 2014.

Beasley, who Kahn said had emergency root canal surgery on Monday morning is set to earn $4.9 million next season, with a $6.2 million team option in 2011-2012 and a $8.1 million qualifying offer in 2012-2013.

When asked about some of Beasley's off-court issues over the last two years, Kahn said the Wolves did their homework.

"He's 21. That's the thing that sometimes gets lost in this. These kids are all so young. To be thrust in this world is a lot to be asked of anybody... We can't act as if they're fully mature adults."

Because the trade was not officially announced until Monday, and because Beasley just had root canal surgery, Kahn said he's yet to speak with the former second-overall pick.

"I've heard he's pleased (with the trade)," Kahn said. "I think that in Miami he was happy, but I've heard he felt that because Dwyane (Wade) was their best player and the focal point, that he felt much like maybe Martell Webster in Portland, that there were other things that he could do and show. I've heard one of the reasons he's excited about this is that he'd like to do that.

"If we do trade Al, he provides some comfort knowing there's some scoring punch."

* As reported last week by several media outlets, Milicic's contract is worth $20 million over four years.

"We think has a chance to become our starting center for the next several years, but of course that's up to Darko," Kahn said.

"It's on him. The opportunity for playing time is there for us. If he continues to make the strides that he started to make last season, he could have a very bright future for us."

* Yahoo! Sports reports the Wolves are also trying to trade Ramon Sessions. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wolves are attempting to dump the three years and $12.5 million remaining on Sessions' contract so they can clear room to sign point guard Luke Ridnour.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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