David Kahn talked on all kinds of subjects over a midseason sort of media lunch today at Target Center before he left bound to scout tonight's Kansas-Texas game in Austin with Rob Babcock.
Among the highlights:
On whether Nikola Pekovic is that complementary player to Big Al and Kevin Love: Kind of in the same mold height-wise, different in that he is much more physical than either of them. I mean the guy is like an Adonis. I think he is probably 6-9, 275 and I don’t think that there is much of an ounce of fat on him. He is a great back to the basket low post scorer. But he is not that lengthy guy that I think we are envisioning. Having said that, that doesn’t mean that we have ruled the possibility of being part of our rotation or joining us. I think that is something that we are going to have to heavily discuss this summer. I saw him play last Thursday night and I was very impressed, as I thought I would be.
On whether he expects the team to be a free-agent player at midnight on July 1 or whether they'll bargain hunt later: I am not trying to dodge. I think the first step is the draft, and the type of player or players we can draft that will help inform what we do in free agency. I think a huge amount of that depends on this draft. We will be doing everything together, meaning here's who we could target and produce through free agency or have a shot to produce. And that is the kind of discussion that will have to occur over the next several months - how do we make this work in terms of the best possible outcome.
When asked about his throwing cold water on the notion the team will be active at the trade deadline: Warm water. I think that if we do something and what I have said is no more than modest in nature, just the way the season has played out. I know we won't do something dramatic.
On Corey Brewer's obvious progress: It has been great, hasn’t it? Very pleased. I mentioned to Glen Taylor about a month ago. I said I will know that Corey has made it with his shot when he himself doesn’t look surprised when it goes in. Because even then it would go in and you would be looking at Corey's face and he would be kind of looking like, "My God, it went in.' That look has disappeared. He now thinks its going to go in. I think that he's had some sort of change in terms of his confidence about what he can do out there. If he can maintain that, he's going to be a very fine player in this league. He has been a very fine player for us these last five or six weeks. Very fine player, and that’s part of the reason we have been playing better. But he's still only 23 himself, I believe, and his whole career is still in front of him. It's very exciting the way he has been developing.
On whether he'll trade Ricky Rubio's rights: When? Now? No way...Yes, we have gotten calls on him of course, but there is no way I would do anything with him now. Absolutely not. He's still young and I still think he can be one of the better point guards to play in the game.
On if he thought Ramon Sessions would have played more by now or if he just considered him a good marketable bargain: I thought he'd play more. I did think he'd play some two. I also think he was a very important thing we had to do. You can't go into a season with just a rookie point guard by himself. It's easy to say now, but no one had seen Jonny play an NBA game yet. It remains to be seen how much more he may yet play. I don’t know if anyone really thought Wayne Ellington would be able to play as many minutes as he was able to play as a late first (round pick). A lot of time he (Sessions) is not out there playing the two, its because Wayne is. Of course we thought it was a good signing. We thought that the contract was such that it was fair for Ramon and fair for us, so that if in the event that we had to trade him, and we were very open with him when we did this, that it was something we felt we could market down the road if need be.
On how far this team is away from the playoffs: Two to three years. Two after this, in playoff contention, and in three or four years I hope that we'd be one of the best teams in this league.
On whether he thinks a prized free agent would really sign here: Yes, provided that we finish the season with the sense that we won't be losers for much longer. If we finish the season with a feeling of desperation and hopelessness, I agree it would be very hard to do. What is important is that we finish the year with a sense of hope, optimism about the way we finished or the types of players we have. The stability I think we can also sell. Between the ownership, myself, and coaching staff, nobody's leaving. We have to make sure it feels hopeful as opposed to hopeless.
Any regrets about trading away Ty Lawson's rights to Denver: No. Not a regret because that really wouldn’t have worked. I think he's going to be a very fine player though. They were very fortunate that he was there at 18.
If he thinks this year's draft is deeper than last year's: I think it will be, I really do. Last year felt to me that there was a significant drop off at about seven or eight. Then it dropped again at about fifteen. I can count easily fifteen players today that are really exciting and enticing.