Wolves say hello, say goodbye

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2011 - 7:23 AM

In helping in the Carmelo Anthony deal, the Wolves added Anthony Randolph, long on their wish list. But it meant giving up Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufos.

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New Wolves forward Anthony Randolph, shown in a Knicks game against the Phoenix Suns, is on his third team in as many years.

Photo: Rick Scuteri, Associated Press

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MILWAUKEE

As the Wolves warmed up for Tuesday's game with the Bucks, Corey Brewer headed to the Milwaukee airport, tweeting farewell to fans and his old teammates as he began a move to New York. After the game ended, Kosta Koufos said his goodbyes in person before preparing to find his way to Denver.

Meanwhile, the Wolves were formally welcoming Anthony Randolph to the fold.

It's official, announced around halftime Tuesday: The Wolves played facilitator in Carmelo Anthony's move from Denver to New York, getting a young player with upside in the process. The Wolves sent Koufos to the Nuggets and Brewer to the Knicks. They got forward Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry's big, expiring contract and $3 million in cash from the New York plus a 2015 second-round draft pick from Denver.

Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said Randolph, the 14th overall pick in 2008 by Golden State, is the sort of player the Wolves have been looking for -- athletic, long, multitalented and young (21).  But Randolph has been mired on the Knicks bench.  Kahn said Randolph wouldn't make a big impact in what's left this season. And he admitted that Randolph's nomadic ways probably should raise, if not a red flag, at least an eyebrow.

''I think it will lead to a very spirited conversation," Kahn said. "I think Anthony will have to embrace the fact that this is his third team in as many years, and that we, I hope, are starting to develop a little bit of a reputation of helping certain players who have been pigeonholed in certain ways to sprout here."

In the Wolves' locker room, there were mixed emotions. Brewer was a very popular player and will be missed.

"This is tough," Kevin Love said. "I value Corey's friendship. I value Corey as a teammate at a very, very high level. He plays hard, he plays to win. .. It was me and him from the [Kevin] McHale era and now it's only me."

Well, and Nikola Pekovic, whom McHale drafted. But Love has a point. There is yet more change to be dealt with by the Wolves, who have struggled to get several young, new faces to jell.

Still, coach Kurt Rambis was in agreement with Kahn. They've  been intrigued with Randolph as far back as last spring. But it was only when the Knicks and Nuggets needed help making the Anthony trade that Randolph became available. But, Kahn said, he was willing to do it only if it made fiscal sense and if the Wolves lost no draft picks.

Rambis? He just wants to see what Randolph's got.

"His length, his versatility," Rambis said when asked what about Randolph was intriguing. "Playing on spots on the floor where our big men play. ... his weakside defensive capabilities, his mobility."

By trading Brewer and Koufos, it allows Rambis to give time to his developing wings and big men. Kahn said Curry likely will be bought out or waived.

So now begins the process of getting Randolph into the mix.  He comes with career averages of 8.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 113 games (30 starts). "He's the type of guy in the draft everybody said had a lot of upside," Love said. "I hope he lends a spark every day to the team like Corey did."

At the same time, the Wolves were sorry to see Brewer and his infectious energy go. "I don't know if the Knicks know just how valuable Corey Brewer is going to be for them," point guard Jonny Flynn said. "We lost a great locker room guy and an awesome basketball player."

Kahn has said many times he wants to stabilize the point guard situation, add another athletic, productive big man and address the need for a vocal leader. These are projects that likely will continue next year, as Kahn said he doesn't expect to make a big trade by the deadline.

But he might have addressed the big man part of that equation. It will take time to find out.

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