Anthony Randolph is roaring to get on the court with Timberwolves

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 24, 2011 - 7:05 AM

Freed from the "hell" of the Knicks bench, the former lottery pick looks forward to renewing his career with the Wolves.

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Rejected by two NBA teams already before his 22nd birthday, Anthony Randolph arrived in Minnesota on Wednesday for the first day of the rest of his career.

Just as they did with Darko Milicic this time last season, the Timberwolves on Tuesday acquired a young lottery pick who couldn't get off the New York bench. But Wolves boss David Kahn said he doesn't consider Randolph's unsuccessful time with Golden State and the Knicks a "red flag," and coach Kurt Rambis said he isn't concerned by it, either.

"I wouldn't say it's a concern," Rambis said. "It's probably why we ended up with him."

Randolph played 17 games this season -- 11 of them in November -- with the Knicks, which traded him to the Wolves in the three-team Carmelo Anthony deal that sent Corey Brewer to New York and Kosta Koufos to Denver.

"Just one of those situations," Randolph said of his time with the Knicks, "but I'm here right now. I can't wait to get on that floor and play again. It was, to use a soft term, hell just sitting on that bench watching a game I love to play."

Randolph passed his physical examination Wednesday and was present for the team's scouting film session and walkthrough before taking on Memphis. But he didn't play in the Wolves' 104-95 loss to the Grizzlies.

A year ago, Milicic was thrust quickly back onto the floor and soon into the starting lineup. This time, Randolph comes to a team that already has Milicic, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic and Anthony Tolliver at the big-man positions.

"We were in need of a center at that time," Rambis said. "I don't know if we're in a need of his position right now."

So that leads Kahn to caution "don't expect much" from a player the Wolves coveted because they hope he can fill a long-term need for a long, athletic player and can help the team eventually match players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Pau Gasol in the Western Conference.

"I don't think he'll be thrust into a prominent role," Kahn said. "You'll see more significant results next season. At some point, it feels too much, too many young guys. It's hard on players who want to play and hard on coaches who need to play them. The greater good was, this player we think might be able to help us in an area where I thought we still need some help."

Randolph said he's "just excited to get out there on the basketball court and play" but also acknowledged he hasn't played much since November and, like Milicic a season ago, isn't in game shape.

"Of course, I have a lot of rust to shake off," said Randolph, who doesn't turn 22 until July. "It has been a while. My conditioning is all right. It's not where I want it to be, but I'm going to work hard to get in the best condition I can. Right now, until I figure everything out, I'll rebound, block shots and try to hustle as much as I can."

On Tuesday, Rambis spoke about how much the Wolves will miss Brewer's energy, hustle and good-guy presence. On Wednesday, he was asked if liked the trade.

"Can you ask me that again in a while?" he said.

When told it didn't sound thrilled with the trade, he said: "Don't read anything into that. That's wrong. That's an inaccurate statement. We'll see how all the pieces fit together. I don't know right now. We were just very, very intrigued with Randolph because of his size, his height, his length, his versatility, his age.

"Adding another young guy was not my ideal situation, but he is a very, very, very intriguing ballplayer."

A very intriguing ballplayer who, now with his third team in three NBA seasons, might be running out of chances.

"Anthony will have to embrace this," Kahn said. "This will be his third team in as many years. I'd hope we're developing a reputation as a franchise where players who have been pigeonholed can sprout here. I hope he's anxious to show he's fine."

Randolph says he is ready to seize an opportunity that might not be there forever.

"I'm going to come in here, work hard and earn my place on the team," he said. "All I have to prove are things to myself, my teammates and the organization."

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