WASHINGTON - Timberwolves boss David Kahn vowed he would only do something "modest in nature" if he did anything by Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

He delivered with Wednesday's deal that sent Brian Cardinal's expiring contract to New York for cash and 7-foot center Darko Milicic, one of the most notable busts in NBA draft history.

So...why? It's a free look for a team prepared to search everywhere for a long, athletic player to complement undersized power forwards Kevin Love and Al Jefferson.

"All of us are intrigued by him," Kahn said before the Wolves' 108-99 loss to the Washington Wizards, "and we're not sure what to expect. He's a legitimate 7-footer who was drafted second in the league one year [2003]. At times, he has had flashes of real strong play. At times, he has had flashes of real poor play. He's a little bit of an enigma.

"We thought it was worthwhile to take a look for these last 20-some games and see what he could do."

Milicic, 24, is joining his fifth team in seven NBA seasons. He has been buried on Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni's bench all season and hasn't played a game since November.

Kahn said he plans to travel to New York City on Thursday to meet with Milicic, whom he expects will join the Wolves before Friday's game vs. Chicago.

"I do think it's important to sit down and explain what we seen the situation being for him," Kahn said. "It has been a tough year for him. Frankly, it has been a tough career for him."

Wolves coach Kurt Rambis said on the team's new acquisition: "We don't know. We'll see. He was a player who was drafted very high, had huge potential. He's a 7-footer with a lot of capabilities at both ends of the floor. It's an opportunity to get a look at him and see what he can do."

Cardinal is expected to be waived by the Knicks, who got some luxury-tax savings by making the trade for the 32-year-old forward.

Ready to say goodbye?

Milicic has said this season that he has had enough of the NBA and plans to return to Europe to play next season. His $7.5 million contract expires after this season.

"He could well determine he does want to return to Europe," Kahn said. "But I'm hopeful he can at least give it one more shot. Even if he does end up returning to Europe, I'd hope he'd want to end his NBA career on the right note.

"In our situation, he will no doubt play. No doubt."

Clock ticking

The trade deadline passes at 2 p.m. Thursday. Asked if he will make any more moves, Kahn said: "I don't know yet. I have no idea yet. If we do, it will be of the same vein as this. It won't be something dramatic."

Etc.

• The Wolves' Ch. 45 telecast of Sunday's home game against Oklahoma City will be commercial-free and feature five forms of social networking to get fans involved. Kahn and Wolves owner Glen Taylor will participate in an experiment that will involve forms of Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and text polling. For example, fans can send YouTube videos to Kahn with draft suggestions.

• Somebody asked Jefferson how he was doing as he headed toward the tunnel before Wednesday's game. "Glad I'm not going to Chicago," he said as he walked on, referring to a Bulls proposal that would have swapped Luol Deng and Tyrus Thomas in a deal for him.