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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-10-18


Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-10-18


Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-10-18The Timberwolves have been remade for the second time in three seasons since they traded away superstar Kevin Garnett to Boston in a franchise-transforming decision.

This time, new basketball boss David Kahn, a former Indiana general manager back in the NBA for the first time in six years, has made like a fantasy-sports team owner in five months on the job, wheeling and dealing and completely remodeling Kevin McHale's original project.

The Wolves now are younger, more athletic and poised to play a new up-tempo style under new coach Kurt Rambis.

They also, according to Kahn, could surpass last season's 24-victory total in a season when injured star Al Jefferson missed the final 32 games.

If they're lucky.

"I wouldn't put a number on it," Kahn said when asked if the Wolves will win more than last season's 24 games. "But if we stay healthy, I would say, in all likelihood, yes."

Kahn is muting expectations, suggesting instead that his makeover project built around forwards Al Jefferson and Kevin Love will be ready to contend for a playoff within three years, after they exercise $20 million in salary-cap room next summer and add as many as three accumulated future first-round picks next summer.

For now, well, the Wolves are a work in progress after trading away Randy Foye and Mike Miller and starting over with rookie Jonny Flynn and free-agent signee Ramon Sessions in the backcourt after Ricky Rubio -- whom Kahn selected with the fifth pick acquired from Washington for Foye and Miller -- turned down the Wolves' courting and decided to stay in Spain for at least two more seasons.

"We're in a learning and growing mode," said Rambis, a former Lakers assistant under Phil Jackson for seven years, "and we will be for some time."

Many Timberwolves fans have prepared themselves for another cold, dark winter in Minnesota, and we're not talking about the weather.

"I mean this sincerely: They will not suffer this year," Kahn said. "This team will be fun to watch. We have some people now with some rare skills and we will be a tough team to play. I recognize we almost certainly are not a playoff team and almost certainly won't be even knocking on the door. We have too much to learn and grow and develop.

"But this will not be painful. I think this will be a fun, exciting, intriguing year. I think this team will start to win some hearts and minds."

COACHING STAFF: Head Coach -- Kurt Rambis, 2nd year overall, 1st with Timberwolves (24-13). Assistants -- Dave Wohl, Reggie Theus, Bill Laimbeer, J.B. Bickerstaff.

LAST SEASON, REMEMBERED: 24-58 (fourth in Northwest Division).

THIS SEASON, PREDICTED: 26-56 (fifth in Northwest Division).

POSSIBLE CHANGES, PREDICTED: Point guard is the position to watch. The Wolves have much invested in both Jonny Flynn, the sixth overall pick last summer, and Ramon Sessions, signed to a four-year, $16 million offer sheet that Milwaukee didn't match in September after Ricky Rubio refused the Wolves' overtures. Flynn is the starter in preseason, but will that last?


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 18, 2009

 

 
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