Notebook: Kahn says roster overhauls are over, Love wants to stay
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite having a roster that yielded only two more wins than it did a season ago and will once again finish dead last in the NBA, David Kahn says he won't blow up the Minnesota Timberwolves' roster for the third straight summer.
"I don't see the team needing a complete overhaul," Kahn said on Wednesday, hours before the Wolves' season finale against Houston.
"Those days are behind us. We set a plan up, and we're abiding by the plan in terms of the types of players we're trying to attract here. We acknowledged at the front it would be painful to start because we'd likely have to become younger still."
That isn't to say there won't be some nips and tucks to a roster that will pick first overall at best in and fourth overall at worst in this summer's NBA Draft. Kahn wouldn't get into specific positions the team needs to improve on but did mention that the team "absolutely" will need to add some type of veteran presence to a roster that only has one player over the age of 25.
"But I don't want to mistake fine-tuning with an overhaul," he said. "We're done with that. There are a lot of players on this roster that I think all of us really, really like and the community likes. And I think they're the kind of players that will be here for many, many years to come."
Although there is a question of when -- or even if -- free agency occurs this offseason, Kahn was adamant the Wolves can attract the type of high-quality free agents necessary to improve the team. He even went as far as to say fans in this state of every team are "paranoid" great players don't want to play in Minnesota.
"I don't think we have any issues in our league -- except maybe New York and L.A., maybe to a lesser extent Miami -- where we feel at a disadvantage," Kahn said. "I think that what's most important to players is to have an opportunity to be a part of a winning, positive, first-rate culture and do (they) have an opportunity to make the money that (they) think they're deserving of making?"
Kahn also once again stressed the salary-cap space the team has to make a move whenever free agency would occur.
With the bulk of speculation surrounding coach Kurt Rambis' future, the possibility of Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio coming to Minnesota and what shiny new prize the team will acquire in this June's draft, many have yet to focus on potentially the biggest question facing this team in the future:
Will Kevin Love sign a long-term deal in Minnesota?
The All-Star forward has said all year he has loved his time in Minnesota, but playing for a winning team will be the deciding factor when his contract ends at the end of next season.
Despite the uncertainty if this team can win next season, Kahn remained adamant that Love will be long term.
"I'm not worried about it," Kahn said. "I think that Kevin wants to be here, I think we want to have him here, and I think that Kevin is saying all the right things and I think that he feels deep down as he's shared with me, that there's some really positive things brewing here and I think he wants to be a part of it, especially having to put in the forced-labor part."
The selection of point guard Jonny Flynn with the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft was the first indication to fans Kahn may be in over his head.
Wednesday was the first time Kahn gave an indiciation he is ready to admit Flynn is a bust.
"I don't know," he said, when asked if Flynn has a future with the Wolves. "That's my honest answer. I don't know. I think that's something that will continue to b e discussed throughout the summer."
Flynn's sophomore season didn't begin until December because of hip surgery the previous summer, and he has struggled to play with any type of consistency or confidence. Kahn admitted Flynn may have been rushed back.
"I guess as a second guess of myself, maybe it would have been better to have allowed him to play in the middle of December," Kahn said. "And I feel terrible about it."
Flynn did not get the benefit of normal summer workouts, training camp and preseason games that other players get to work the kinks out. But then again, his disappointing rookie season didn't do anything to indicate he would have made a leap had been completely healthy.
Kahn's bluntness and the prospect of Rubio finally arriving stateside next season may spell the end for Flynn's disappointing run with the Wolves.
Nobody has ever questioned Michael Beasley's God-given athletic ability, but his mental capabilities and drive has always been a concern for the talented 22-year-old. Kahn believes Beasley is capable of improving his work ethic but wasn't exactly certain it will happen.
"The proof will be in the proverbial pudding," Kahn said. "Michael has been telling us that he anticipates spending his summer, he told somebody I'm close with that he has never looked more forward in terms of the work he wants to put in. But we'll see."
Beasley made the switch from power forward to small forward this season, and despite looking uncomfortable at times -- and saying he prefers to play power forward -- Kahn believes Beasley's future will be at small forward.
"I see him much more of a three than a four," Kahn said. "I think we felt that coming in and I think that Michael will have difficulty with certain matchups to ever be playing (power forward)."