Kahn: No big roster changes are likely

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 2, 2011 - 7:07 AM

The Timberwolves chief likes the young lineup, though he'd like to add a veteran.

Timberwolves President David Kahn emerged from his bunker on Thursday, rubbed his eyes in the day's light and spoke about his team in specifics -- well, sort of -- for the first time since June.

Citing NBA rules that prevent him from discussing specifics of the league's new labor deal, Kahn nonetheless covered many topics now that the Dec. 9 start of training camp is only a week away.

Some of the most interesting stuff:

• He reiterated he likes these young players who won 17 games last season and foresees only some roster "pruning" and "tweaking" in the free-agent and trade markets.

He said new coach Rick Adelman needs "a long period of time" to learn about and develop this collection of young athletes.

"Of course we will look at every option as we always do," he said. "If you already like what you see, we will not be as active as other teams will be ... We're not making any trades right now. Not today."

While New Orleans has only six players under contract and Denver and Sacramento both must spend $20 million just to get to the minimum payroll, Kahn called the Wolves "well-positioned" with a roster that will be complete with 15 signed players by next week.

• He still wants to add at least one veteran. "But again, I don't want to send messages out that mean certain people won't be here," Kahn said. "But we'll need to examine that because I do think it's a priority."

The Wolves could bid in a modified waiver draft to obtain Brandon Roy if Portland really does release him. They're also one of six teams pursuing free agent Chuck Hayes, who at 6-6 started at center for Adelman in Houston because of his toughness and defense.

The Wolves will have 15 players under contract once rookies Derrick Williams and Malcolm Lee sign. So if they sign a free agent, who goes?

• Kahn on Wednesday talked briefly with the agents for Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, all of whom are eligible for contract extensions.

The Wolves could place Love in a newly created category -- designated player -- and offer him a longer deal (five years) than any other team. But they'd also have to reward him with a maximum contract, something they're unlikely to do.

"It's certainly a priority that we do," Kahn said when asked about extending Love's contract. "I've said this consistently: I expect Kevin to be a big part of our franchise for a number of years."

• When asked about Beasley's role now that Williams is aboard, Kahn said, "I think Michael will be the one who determines that more than anybody."

He also said he wants to talk to Beasley about that June marijuana arrest -- a five-game NBA suspension is possible -- when teams can contact players again. He said the lawyer in him wants to learn all the facts first.

• Kahn said it's possible the team will spend part of training camp in Mankato, Minn., but likely will start at Target Center.

• Randolph was the only player who worked out at Target Center on Thursday, the first day NBA practice facilities were opened to players. Kahn said he expects nearly all players to be in town by Tuesday.

• With assistant GM Tony Ronzone gone, Kahn will reconfigure the front office: Adelman's son R.J. will bring some of the statistical analytics the Rockets use in Houston and assume a front-office player personnel/game preparation role. A new advance scout -- Brent Haskins followed Kevin McHale and J.B. Bickerstaff to Houston -- will report to R.J. Last season's assistant coaches Bill Laimbeer, Reggie Theus and Dave Wohl will be paid for their contract's remaining year but won't be reassigned new jobs.

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