Kahn's visit aims to quiet Gasol rumor

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 7, 2012 - 11:05 PM
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David Kahn

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Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn doesn't volunteer very often to talk with reporters at game-day shootarounds. But he did so on Friday, if only to shoot down media speculation that he's trying to acquire Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, a trade rumor that just won't die.

An ESPN.com report on Thursday is the latest to say the Wolves covet Gasol's low-post scoring and high-post passing. The report said the Lakers turned away overtures from Toronto and the Wolves -- who reportedly want to build a package around Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic -- at least until they see how their team looks once injured Steve Nash returns.

Kahn said he hasn't talked to the Lakers -- "I can absolutely assure you," he said -- since June. The Wolves pursued Gasol the past two drafts, essentially offering Williams each time.

"What bothers me is it has an impact on a team and its players and its family members," Kahn said. "And it's not appropriate for that reason, in other words if it's not real. I'm not upset, but it's not something I want to see spiral any further."

Like Lakers management, Kahn wants to see his team get healthy with Ricky Rubio's awaited return before the team makes a major move.

"There's absolutely nothing imminent that we're working on," he said. "My main concern right now is that the team regain itself and at point maintain itself. Simple. That's the No. 1 concern I have right now."

He's back from his back

Andrei Kirilenko returned Friday to the starting lineup at small forward after four games away because of back spasms that caused him to walk like an old man last week in Los Angeles.

"Right now, I don't feel any weakness," he said. "I feel strong. A week ago, I was feeling it's weak, I can't really bend. Now it feels back to normal."

Without him, the Wolves played on without their best defender.

"He was definitely missed," teammate Kevin Love said. "He always takes the other team's best player. We could have put him on [Rajon] Rondo last game in Boston. We could have put him on KG [Kevin Garnett]. We could have put him on Paul Pierce. He's a guy we can almost put on anybody ... He just makes a big difference."

Really old school

Both teams played without their star point guards, but Love sought out Cleveland's Kyrie Irving for a visit. The two became friends last summer at a pre-Olympic USA Basketball camp and then united in one of Irving's "Uncle Drew" soda-pop commercials. Love spent hours in a makeup chair to transform himself into old-timer "Wes" for a Los Angeles playground game.

Etc.

• Wolves guard Brandon Roy will re-join the team for Sunday's practice, but that doesn't mean he'll practice with the team, Kahn said. Roy has spent the past couple of weeks back home in the Pacific Northwest after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Nov. 19.

• The Cavaliers sent second-year forward Jon Leuer to their D League affiliate in Canton, Ohio, just before the team made its only Target Center appearance this season. Leuer grew up in the Orono/Long Lake area and played his college ball at Wisconsin.

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