Timberwolves transformation continues with Beasley
When David Kahn sat down on Thursday night to watch LeBron James announce his decision, he wasn't waiting to hear the Minnesota Timberwolves' name called.
Kahn was simply waiting to hear ANY team name called. Like much of the rest of the league, the Timberwolves were essentially handcuffed from continuing their offseason renovations until King James decided what city would win the bid for ''his talents.''
Once the decision came down, Kahn said, the rest of the dominoes would begin to fall. It didn't take long for him to be proven right.
Less than two hours after James said he was going to the Miami Heat, the Wolves agreed to send a second-round pick to the Heat for Michael Beasley, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced.
Kahn declined to comment about the trade Friday because NBA rules prohibit teams from discussing deals before the league has approved them, but that didn't stop several Timberwolves players from eagerly anticipating Beasley's arrival.
''That's a great pickup,'' point guard Jonny Flynn said.
Beasley was the No. 2 overall draft choice in 2008 and averaged 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds last season for the Heat. His disappointing stint in Miami featured off-the-court distractions, including getting kicked out of the NBA rookie symposium, being fined for breaking rules and receiving substance-abuse treatment at a facility in Houston.
''He's so misunderstood. I think his demeanor and the way he is as a person, a lot of people think he doesn't care about basketball,'' Flynn said. ''But that's just the way he is. A lot of things he went through growing up, a hard lifestyle, can shape a person in different ways. A lot of people just misunderstand Mike and I'm happy he's a teammate.''
The Timberwolves like Beasley's athleticism and versatility, and he could play some small forward as well.
''He's an animal,'' said Wolves rookie Wes Johnson, who played against Beasley in college.
It's the first of many moves that could be on the horizon for a team that won just 15 games last season and needs to show a disenchanted fan base that it is making an effort to quickly get things turned around.
Suddenly the Timberwolves have a logjam at power forward, with Beasley, Al Jefferson and Kevin Love in line to play next to centers Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic, who have agreed to deals to join the team.
Kahn has been open about his consideration of trading Jefferson, the main cog the team received in a seven-for-one trade with Boston that sent Kevin Garnett to the Celtics in 2008.
Jefferson was once considered the keystone for the team's post-Garnett rebuild, but Kahn and coach Kurt Rambis were not around when that plan was hatched. They want to run a faster, more up-tempo style and don't think Jefferson's back-to-the-basket, half-court game meshes as well as it did here in the past.
Jefferson will make $13 million this year, which means the team could get a solid piece in return for shipping out one of the best low-post offensive players in the league.
''This time of year, everybody on our roster is open for discussion,'' Kahn said earlier this week.
The players know it, too.
''Around this time of year there's a lot of rumors and you don't know what's true or not true,'' Flynn said. ''All you can do is come in and keep working hard and continue to get better.''