By Andy Weise
Recently appointed Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn continued his summer of making headlines as he packaged Mark Madsen, Sebastian Telfair and Craig Smith to the Los Angeles Clippers for Quentin Richardson. Richardson has now had four homes this off-season after he was dealt from New York to Memphis and then from Memphis to the Clippers. He addresses the Wolves’ shooting guard need after Mike Miller and Randy Foye were dealt to Washington the day before the draft, which landed the Wolves the No. 5 overall pick (which became Ricky Rubio.)
Kahn has now made two multi-players trades and decided against bringing back Kevin McHale as the head coach. He is also traveling to Spain to try and negotiate with Ricky Rubio’s buyout, which the Wolves can only pay $500,000 towards.
Clearly Kahn and McHale saw some things differently and that is why McHale isn’t coaching again next year. Kahn has also traded five of McHale’s guys this offseason. Madsen was more a cheerleader than a rotation player the last couple of years but he was the last remaining guy from the Wolves 2003-2004 run to the Western Conference Finals. Madsen was somewhat of a fan favorite in Minnesota but he never deserved the five year contract McHale handed to him the summer of 2005.
Smith and Telfair were two of the young guns McHale was trying to build with and after Telfair had failed to live up to expectations in Portland and Boston, he seemed to have found a home in Minnesota as a capable backup point guard. Smith seemed to be lost in the shuffle after the Washington deal brought in three front court players with more size than the undersized power forward from Boston College.
What was going through the mind of the Clippers?
Well, first off they get a much needed backup point guard for the sometimes injured Baron Davis. Telfair should be a good insurance policy for a team with plenty of weapons in the event that Davis goes down. Smith and Madsen will help with the departure of Zach Randolph who was dealt for Richardson originally. With Blake Griffin, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman in the front court, Smith should be able to find some time and Madsen likely will continue his cheerleading ways. The Clippers have basically sent away Randolph and added Griffin and three decent role players. If the Clippers do actually add Allen Iverson, there is actually some reason for interest in L.A.’s second team.
Richardson’s shooting will definitely help the Wolves, a team that wants to play more up-tempo but still possesses a significant weapon in the half court game: Al Jefferson. It’s hard to say at this point if Richardson will stay on the team because he is another expiring contract but for now let’s just say he will remain a T’Wolf for the year. He is in the final year of his contract so he should be motivated to prove to people he still deserves another payday in the NBA. The Wolves are now stacked with expiring contracts belonging to Richardson (9.35 mil), Etan Thomas (7.35 mil) and Brian Cardinal (6.75 mil). On top of that, they could again have three first round picks and plenty of cap room. Stay tuned to see what Kahn does next. For now, Wolves fans will continue to echo those three words, “Yes We Kahn.”