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Updated: July 13th, 2010 9:12pm
David Kahn discusses Jefferson trade, says Wolves aren't done dealing

David Kahn discusses Jefferson trade, says Wolves aren't done dealing

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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The Timberwolves officially announced the acquisition of two first-round draft picks and center Kosta Koufos from the Utah Jazz for Al Jefferson on Tuesday night.

Wolves' general manager David Kahn spoke to reporters via conference call, and he praised Jefferson's professionalism while also adding, "We're only about halfway through this exercise."

Here are highlights from the Kahn conference call:

General opening statement regarding trade:

I'm happy that we were able to find a trade that met our needs and met (Jefferson's) needs, and put him on a winning ballclub. Beyond a winning ballclub, the Utah Jazz is one of the classiest, most stable organizations in our sport. I thought if it worked out for both of us, it would be wonderful if Al could wind up in a place like that.

I felt, as the summer went on, that this was the right time for us to get the floor moving now. And I think Al came to the same conclusion independently. He could see the trajectory of our team was at least a couple years away from being a winning team, ant that would have been two more years of a lot of pain for him, after several years beforehand.

Why trade Jefferson now, rather than during last season or during this upcoming season?

During the season (last year) he clearly had some trouble recovering from this ACL and playing the way he played two years ago. But if he were in the free agent market in effect, his value would rise. Some teams would just need to have him. Over the last week, teams intensified their efforts to acquire him.

I thought two first rounders, even the protected ones, was probably the high point. And with Kevin Love and Michael Beasley on the team, there wouldn't have been as much playing time for everybody to showcase Al, even if we wanted to opt for that route. I just felt the time was right. It was important to me that we receive picks and not take back any players that would compromise our ability to continue to add talent to the ballclub.

Can you discuss the protections on the two first-round picks?

I don't know if we're allowed to, first of all. I think that the protections were fair. I believe that we could end up with both picks next year... I'd be very surprised if we don't have both picks in our hands within the next few years.

Did Jefferson ever request a trade, as others have written?

I think we both independently came to the same conclusion. I had a meeting with his agent in New York in mid-May, and I expected to say to the agent, 'I think the time is right to think about doing this.' As I said, I think we independently came to the same conclusion, and I think that always makes it easy.

I think Al's at a point in his career that he wants to experience what it's like to win. I don't have any problems with that. I completely understand where he was coming from.

How many other teams were in the running at the end?

There were two other teams at the end that really had sincere interest and were very motivated. I thought we took the deal that was best for us.

What about the makeup of the roster? Do you need a veteran?

I think experience really matters, of course, I would never discount that. I think that we have though in the young kids we have on the team, everybody I think is a good person. And we talked last night about some of Michael's issues that he had a year ago, but all indications are that Michael is growing. I'm not saying grown, but growing. I'd love to have a couple veterans on the team, there's no queston about it.

The right thing for us to do now is to kind of continue talking, continue exploring how we can make the ballclub better.

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.

Are you saving the cap space for trades or free agents?

I think we will look at anything and everything. It could be a little bit of both.

Luke Ridnour is rumored to be close to signing. Can you comment?

We had Luke in for a visit. I thought it went well... but I have nothing to report on the matter.

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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