Kahn: 'No wholesale changes coming,' low expectations for Randolph
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The Minnesota Timberwolves confirmed Tuesday night that Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufos were traded in the three team deal that landed them Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry's expiring contract from the New York Knicks.
Brewer is on his way to join the Knicks and Koufos to the Denver Nuggets as part of the blockbuster trade that facilitated Carmelo Anthony's move to New York.
"We are excited to add a player like Anthony who is a young, athletic big man with a bright future," president of basketball operations David Kahn said in a conference call during the Wolves 94-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
"When given playing time, he has shown that he can produce in this league. We want to thank Corey and Kosta for their time with us, and wish them both the best of luck in the future."
Kahn made it clear that he is very excited about what Randolph brings to the table but -- in keeping with the theme of his tenure with the Wolves -- tried to minimize expectations for a 21-year old that has now played on three teams in three years since being drafted 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2008 draft.
"I don't expect Anthony -- this season, there are only a couple months left -- I don't expect much this season," Kahn said. "I don't think he will be thrust into a prominent role. I am actually thinking we will see more significant results from him next season."
Critics of Randolph are quick to point out that he couldn't fit in on a Warriors team coached by Don Nelson or a Knicks team coached by Mike D'antoni but Kahn isn't bothered by that.
"It's not a red flag," he said. "I think that his age is such that I am not particularly worried about that. I think that he actually did play some significant minutes with Golden State from time to time and for whatever reason, they decided to move in a different direction when they made the David Lee trade and they put him in it."
"In the case of New York I think it is fairly well documented that Mike D'antoni prefers to play a very short rotation."
This deal seems to contradict with coach Kurt Rambis' biggest complaint this season, the team's lack of experience, but Kahn said Rambis and the rest of the coaches all wanted Randolph.
There has been talk that Kahn may be able to flip Curry's expiring to another team for another piece but Kahn says the team will likely waive the out of shape 10-year veteran.
"I think the better chance is that we buy him out or we waive him but we haven't made a decision yet. I think that where the landscape of the league is, I think he would be very difficult to move," Kahn said.
Kahn says he went into the deal assuming the Wolves would buy him out but the deal made sense to go forward with. Getting another piece for the expiring contract would have just sweetened the deal.
Kahn has said multiple times he didn't anticipate making a blockbuster trade before Thursday's deadline and it appears this may be the only move the team makes. There are areas the team needs to improve on, Kahn says, but they will like wait until the summer and -- despite the team's 13-44 record -- there are no big changes coming.
"One thing I want to make very clear. I like the team. I like the team's potential. I like its promise. I like its future. There is no new rebuilding plans coming to the front. There is no wholesale changes coming either the next 48 hours or even this summer. I think most of what we have to do now is some fine-tuning and make sure we cover ourselves in that area."
Kahn targeted three areas that he thinks the team needs to improve on come summer. The first -- and most obvious -- is solidifying the point guard position. Despite drafting two point guards with the fifth and sixth overall picks in 2009 and signing one this past off season, the cupboard is practically bare. Jonny Flynn has struggled mightily since returning from hip surgery, Luke Ridnour is a nice veteran backup, the closest Sebastian Telfair gets to the court most nights is warm-ups and Ricky Rubio is still in Spain.
The second piece Kahn says the team needs to find is "another athletic four/five that can compliment the players we have."
Fans reading this may be wondering, 'didn't the team just trade for an athletic four/five that can compliment the players we have?' But again, Kahn admits he "wants to have it both ways." He wants to see if Randolph can become that player without putting the pressure on him that he has to become that player.
"On one level I want to see what Anthony can do in that role but I don't want to put the pressure on him that he's it, that that's all we can do. But maybe we can supplement him too, this off season."
The third and final piece of the puzzle according to Kahn is an issue that has plagued the Wolves all season: leadership. The team has used the convenient excuse all season that the lack of leadership stems from the fact that they are the youngest team in the league -- and just got younger by trading a 24-year old for a 21-year old -- but Kahn says that isn't good enough.
"Our leadership issues are real and not just simply youth related that we have a need for a more vocal presence in the locker room and whatever way shape or form but that is something that will have to be addressed as well."
But again, Kahn says to not expect any of these things to happen over the next 48 hours.
"All of these things are likely to be addressed in the offseason."