Kahn says 'nothing is imminent' on trade front, asks for patience
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Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn spoke to the media after practice Monday in a group setting for the first time since the season started.
And despite speculation that a trade is coming -- due partly because of the team's 9-29 record and partly because of Kahn's trade-happy past -- that is not the case, Kahn said.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing is imminent with our team right now," Kahn said. "I am focused on helping the players and coaches help turn this corner this month, or whenever that may be, and we are not looking to do anything on a trade basis at this moment."
Kahn did say that he has had discussions with teams but would not get into specific names and said that phone calls at this time of year are part of the job.
"People talk at this time of year," Kahn said. "It is part of what we do. And those talks and conversations will continue all the way until the deadline and then start again next summer. That is just the nature of what we do. Other than maybe a couple of teams that feel they are totally set, it's just what people do."
The Wolves have long been rumored as an additional team to help facilitate the impending Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade but decided the juice wasn't worth the squeeze.
"We did get a call (about the Anthony trade), that I'll confirm," Kahn said. "I don't know if that means a deal is going to happen. We were asked because of our cap flexibility to participate and without naming names, I told the team that what was being proposed just wasn't in our interest. The payoff wasn't nearly what I thought what was necessary to participate. "
The prevailing theme from the 20 minutes that Kahn spoke for was patience. Kahn, like everyone else involved, wishes the team had closed out more games and racked up more wins but that doesn't mean it is time to panic.
"There is a lot of ways to measure how we are doing," Kahn said. "No question, I am certainly not trying to undersell this, wins and losses are a huge component and I know everybody would feel better if we had those four-to-six more wins right now and we would just shrug and be pretty satisfied. But I do think it is coming and I think that the team has made significant progress from last season and I think that people can see that there is still a lot more to come."
Kahn did admit that one problem plaguing the Wolves -- who he reminded are the youngest team in the league -- is that the team tends to play up and down to its opponents level.
"It is kind of a shame, we are awfully confident for a nine-win team and probably shouldn't be so confident for a nine-win team," Kahn said. "But that too is part of maturing. Knowing you can't just show up."
It wasn't just the wins and loses that Kahn asked for patience on, but the players as well, specifically Jonny Flynn. Since returning from hip surgery 11 games ago, Flynn has put up an underwhelming 4.9 points, 2.8 assists in 17.5 minutes per game but Kahn says it is too early to seek the knee-jerk trade that fans have been calling for.
"Jonny clearly is not back yet in the truest sense of the word," Kahn said. "I am starting to see flashes of him feeling a little better. But again, he is 21, he is a second-year player at a very difficult position and in our situation with the double-whammy of being in an offensive sytyle that he is not used to playing, and two, had a very significant injury. That was not a little ankle tweek. They went in there and shaved down bone so that his hip ball fit better in his femur. That is a significant injury."
"Same thing with (Flynn) as I would say about our team in general, it is easy now to make these rash conclusions. I want to make certain that we allow him to regain his footing and I don't think he has yet," Kahn said.
As the frustrating losses pile up and the team continually shows ineptitude at closing out games -- especially in set plays out of time-outs with the game on the line -- some have begun to point fingers at Rambis, but Kahn continues to back the the guy he hired, citing his ability to develop young players.
"(Kurt is) keenly interested in developing young players," Kahn said. "It is his strength. He is really strong at developing young players. He has not gotten the credit he deserves for Darko (Milicic),Kevin (Love) and Michael (Beasley) flourishing this year individually."
Kahn did acknowledge that Rambis -- who before his tenure with the Wolves had only been a head coach during the stike-shortened 1998 season for the Lakers -- has areas to improve upon.
"I don't expect Kurt to be perfect in every area," Kahn said. "No head coach, other than for maybe the greats, or the guys who have been doing it for years and years can maybe say that. So what we need to do is make certain that we support him in every way. I expect him to continue to get better in many areas but at the end of the day, nothing has shaken me in my resolve that he has the kind of qualities necessary to take us to another level."
Kahn has not wavered on his original goal of winning an NBA Championship and says that is why patience is so crucial right now as they continue to let the process play out.
"I really don't want to lose sight on what we are here to do and that is we want to win a championship down the road," Kahn said. "And we want to have this particular group of people, many of them, involved in that. In order to do that the right way sometimes you have to sacrifice a quick-fix for a more longer term plan and so I recognize that I've made it very hard on the coaches and I've made it very hard on the players in the interest of maintaining some flexibility for down the road and in the interest of making certain we don't lose sight of the big prize."
Say what you will about Kahn -- and people certainly do -- he has always put the onus on himself and continued to do so Tuesday.
"All roads do lead to me," Kahn said. "The roster is what the roster is and I am accountable for it. The coach is the coach and I am accountable for it."