For Wolves, what's the price to win?

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 1, 2012 - 8:42 AM

A couple of players are out as the Wolves speed their push to improve.

hide

Michael Beasley was not extended an $8.1 million qualifying offer, making him a free agent.

Photo: Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

When the Timberwolves plucked David Kahn to lead them in May 2009, he immediately set out to make Target Center the Disneyland of the NBA.

The Happiest Place on Earth.

In one breath, he dismissed the notion that building a championship team in cold, snowy Minnesota is an inherently doomed proposition, and in the next he hired coaches Kurt Rambis, Bill Laimbeer and Reggie Theus to prove recognizable names indeed will come to the frozen tundra.

He also set out gathering a collection of runners and jumpers -- long and athletic, don'tcha know? -- chosen to complement the mythological Ricky Rubio, no matter how young, wild or mismatched they were.

He did so because players love to run and gun and if Minnesota is really going to be an attractive NBA destination and if Target Center is really going to be the Happiest Place on Earth, well ...

But that plan left out one little thing:

Winning, at least in this generation.

Enter Rick Adelman.

The Wolves team Kahn built these past three years is getting a summer facelift, guided by a future Hall of Fame coach's sensibilities.

Out is the former big-top tent circus and its emphasis on youth, athleticism and potential's eternal promise.

In: shooting, savvy and smarts.

Tuesday's trade that brought Adelman favorite Chase Budinger from Houston for the 18th pick in Thursday's draft and the selection of Purdue's Robbie Hummel 58th overall were starts.

The team's pursuit of aging Los Angeles Lakers star Pau Gasol by trade -- even if it costs them last year's No. 2 overall pick, Derrick Williams -- and former All-Star Brandon Roy or veteran Jamal Crawford in free agency are two possible next steps.

The message is clear, what with a 66-year-old coach, an owner who intends to sell the franchise in three or four years, a basketball boss who probably needs to make the playoffs to keep his job and star Kevin Love signed through 2015:

Win now.

Two symbols of Kahn's experimentation -- low-cost gambles on former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley and former lottery pick Anthony Randolph -- did not receive sizable qualifying offers Saturday, and both became unrestricted free agents late Saturday night.

Beasley will not return to the team after two uneven seasons because the Wolves were not willing to extend a hefty $8.1 million qualifying offer. They still could send him to the Lakers or another team in a sign-and-trade.

Beasley arguably was the Wolves' most talented player, an unstoppable player at his best because he's a 6-8 forward who can score all over the floor. But Adelman -- and the Wolves -- ultimately decided Beasley's immaturity, inconsistency and individualism outweighed his unmistakable talent.

The Wolves are open to bringing back Randolph at a price below his $4 million qualifying offer, but that will depend on what other moves they can make.

The Wolves kept their trade options on Saturday when they also reached agreements with Brad Miller and Martell Webster to extend into July the deadline to pick up team options for next season. That enables them to continue to talk trade for Gasol or another such big-salaried player and include the salary-cap-friendly contracts of both Miller and Webster in the deal.

Both players are due to make more than $5 million next season, but each can be bought out for less than $1 million each, which makes their contracts attractive to a team such looking to shed salary and slash its luxury-tax penalties.

Miller announced his retirement after last season, but his contract isn't yet retired under the NBA's confounding salary-cap rules.

Gasol's arrival -- at age 32 and with $39 million owed for the next two seasons -- would be Kahn's biggest gamble yet, far bigger than signing Roy, a "retired" player with little cartilage left in either knee, simply because of the price paid for each.

His presence alongside Love and Rubio might not make Target Center the Happiest Place on Earth, but a possible 50-victory season would make it full and loud again, for now.

  • related content

  • Wolves contingent visits Roy in Seattle

    Sunday July 1, 2012

    The Timberwolves' pursuit of free-agent Brandon Roy is serious enough that owner Glen Taylor, president of basketball operations David Kahn,...

  • Wolves cut loose Beasley, Randolph

    Sunday July 1, 2012

    For the second time in four years, Michael Beasley is on the move, hoping another team will be willing to overlook his inconsistency on the court and try to harness...

  • Chart: A look at NBA free agency and Wolves targets

    Sunday July 1, 2012

    FIVE UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTSL.A. Lakers power forward Jordan Hill: Athletic big man who played for Rick Adelman in Houston is...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 6:00 PM
Cleveland
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Washington
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close