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Updated: March 15th, 2012 5:14pm
Zulgad: Wolves use common sense in failing to make a deal

Zulgad: Wolves use common sense in failing to make a deal

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by Judd Zulgad

There will be disappointment from some that the Minnesota Timberwolves did not make a move for a shooting guard before Thursday's trade deadline passed.

Michael Beasley's name had been dangled out there for so many weeks - and the Los Angeles Lakers had expressed so much interest in him -- that it seemed a foregone conclusion the forward would be on the move.

But despite all the discussions and rumors that Beasley's days in Minnesota were numbered and veteran Jamal Crawford was headed this way, the Wolves prepared to play the Jazz on Thursday night with the same group of players who touched down on Wednesday in Utah.

David Kahn, the Timberwolves president of basketball operations, has gotten plenty of heat in this town for some of his moves. In this case, he deserves credit for exploring the market but not feeling as if he had to pull the trigger on a trade.

Yes, the Wolves are within striking distance of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but if Kahn felt there was any pressure to make a hard run at a playoff spot that ended last Friday when rookie point guard Ricky Rubio was lost for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

The Wolves needed a shooting guard before Thursday and they still need one, but the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly were asking for Luke Ridnour and it made no sense for the Wolves to include him in any type of package.

This is something that both Kahn and coach Rick Adelman knew.

With Rubio out, Ridnour is going to be the Wolves' point guard. If he had been traded, the Wolves would have had to rely on J.J. Barea and rookie Malcolm Lee. Both of those players have dealt with injury issues this season and counting on Barea to run the point full time, even healthy, would have seemed like a stretch.

The Wolves are in an interesting situation for a few reasons, but clear thinking definitely won out here. And that means that on Thursday we never heard the name of rookie forward Derrick Williams uttered among the candidates to be moved.

What could have clouded the Wolves' judgment, and potentially led to a foolish trade, would have been if Kahn felt pressure in the last year of his contract to get this franchise into the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

Kahn, though, appears certain to get an extension.

Other factors that could have played a role would have been the desire of owner Glen Taylor and his minority owners to get at least a couple of home playoff gates or a push by first-year Wolves coach Adelman, at the age of 65, to get to the postseason as soon as possible.

The thing the Wolves have to know is this: No matter how much they had enjoyed the success they'd experienced in a turnaround season that was going so well until Rubio crumpled to the court, this is simply the initial step in getting back to respectability.

For the first time since the mid-2000s, the Wolves are relevant again and fans are filling up Target Center for games that don't include the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics or Heat.

Many people are just happy to have a decent team on the court again.

The lack of a trade by Kahn on Thursday might be criticized by some given the fact Beasley will be a restricted free agent this offseason and might not be in the Wolves' long-term plans.

But Kahn also needed to make it clear that the Wolves are no longer a desperate organization that can be picked over by more powerful teams.

In a few years, faced with similar circumstances, it is possible the Wolves will feel pressure to make a move that will get them into the postseason. Right now, that pressure really isn't there, especially with Rubio gone.

Give Kahn and Adelman credit for recognizing that. 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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