Timberwolves, Kahn Miss the Boat at the NBA Trade Deadline


The NBA trade deadline came and went with the Minnesota Timberwolves only making a minor move to acquire Anthony Randolph from the New York Knicks.

While it was a low-risk, high-reward move, it was a trade that I thought would open the flood gates.

Jonny Flynn rumors flied around all day during Thursday’s deadline, yet the Wolves never pulled the trigger.

While moving Flynn would’ve made a ton of sense, it was a move the Memphis Grizzlies attempted to make that forced me to question Kahn’s stance on the future.

As the deadline passed Indiana agreed to trade Josh McRoberts and their 2011 first round pick (which will be around 13-17) to Memphis for O.J. Mayo. The trade was later nullified as it came after the 3 p.m. trade deadline. (The Sports Bank.net’s Drew Allen looks at what this means for Indiana.)

As I wrote back in late December CBSSports.com had reported that “The Wolves envision Mayo playing in the backcourt next season along with Rubio.” A deal never got done then, and it didn’t get done at the deadline.

Obviously Mayo was available. With Corey Brewer’s wing position open after he was sent to The Big Apple in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster, a Timberwolves trade for Mayo was more than plausible.

But apparently it made too much sense for overwhelmed Timberwolves General Manager David Kahn.

It’s not as if the Wolves couldn’t have matched Indiana’s offer.

Josh McRoberts is averaging 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. He is 23 years old.

The Timberwolves Anthony Tolliver– who is now expendable due to Anthony Randolph’s acquisition, you know the same Anthony Randolph who played over Tolliver in Golden State last year– is averaging 6.0 points and 4.2 per game this season. Very similar numbers to McRoberts. Tolliver is just 25 years old.

In the Grizzlies eyes a Tolliver-McRoberts debate may in fact favor McRoberts, which is understandable. But the Grizzlies lack a backup point guard, something the Timberwolves have to offer.

Sebastian Telfair has only months left on his contract with the Wolves, and could’ve been a nice fit for Memphis to add depth behind Mike Conley as they make a run at the playoffs.

The Wolves also have a similar first round pick to that of Indiana. They own Denver’s 2011 top-16 protected first round pick. The same pick that was being shopped in a potential Aaron Brooks for Jonny Flynn deal. Showing that the Wolves were willing to move that asset.

I find it extremely hard to believe that Memphis would’ve preferred the aforementioned McRoberts trade instead of a Tolliver, Telfair, and 2011 top-16 protected 1st rounder.

Since February rumors hadn’t swirled about Mayo to Minnesota, I feel Kahn just didn’t want to make a play at Mayo. A rather asinine perspective if I might add.

Luckily for the Wolves the McRoberts-Mayo deal didn’t make it in to the league offices in time. So now they still have an opportunity to make a play at Mayo this summer. But don’t bet on it. Kahn seems far too willing to sit on his hands with all the cap space that the Wolves currently have.

As  1130KFAN radio host Dan Barreiro tweeted on Thursday:

“When, exactly, are we going to use our ‘long and athletic’ cap space?”

Only time will tell. And if the David Kahn era has taught us anything, don’t expect the obvious.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as beat writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gopher hockey. He is also the co-host of ‘The Backdoor Cut,’ a Minneapolis-based sports and pop culture themed radio show. The show is also podcasted.

You can follow Brett on Twitter @brettcloutier.



  1. Peter Christian says

    I’m so happy that the shine is wearing off Kahn to the people that said, “give him time, give him a chance.”

    I’ve been on record here on TSB, to anyone who would listen and from a fricking mountain top at times that Kahn was not suited to be an NBA GM because he didn’t have the basketball IQ to assemble a successful NBA team.

    Now, nearly 2 years later, people are realizing what I knew right away with this guy: He’s in way over his head and has ZERO direction.

  2. oh he has direction.


    or towards getting a pink slip. that’s direction.

  3. So you think the Wolves should have tried to make a trade for O.J. Mayo when they already have a glut at his position that has yet to have a chance to prove itself. Mayo has gone on record previously of not wanting to play here… you sure don’t bring him in just in time to have him leave as a freeagent. Mayo is not any kind of answer for this or any team. He’s of questionable character and isn’t nearly as good as you seem to think he is… he hasn’t been able to start for Memphis while averaging about 20min. per game. This isn’t a fantasy league the Wolves are playing in… you don’t just assemble a bunch of stat collectors/names and think it will make a NBA team win

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