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Building A Mystery In Minnesota

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There's not a lot going on with Celtics news, so I'm trying to pop around the league and check in with teams as they get written about.  That's why you've seen me link to articles on the Hawks and the Thunder recently.  Expect more of these as I try (in vain) to add back some of the NBA-wide flair that Steve Weinman provided.

The Celtics and TWolves have been linked for years.  First there was Kevin McHale running the show, then there was the Ricky Davis, Mark Blount trade, then there was the KG trade.  They still have Big Al and Ryan Gomes, but not much else is left on that team now that new GM David Kahn has taken over.  TrueHoop takes a look at the team and where they are headed.

Ripping the Timberwolves Down to the Studs - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN

Thirteen of the players, a head coach or two, and the face and brain trust of the team through its first two decades -- Kevin McHale: All gone.

In their place: One of the most profound and rapid rebuilds the NBA has ever seen, highlighted by the frenetic activity of hardworking new president of basketball operations David Kahn. He has ushered in new young players like Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio, a new coach in Kurt Rambis, a small collection of returning players highlighted by Al Jefferson and Kevin Love ... and a thousand questions.

Kahn goes on to give a timetable:

Kahn spells out that this season will be an exploration of how the existing roster works. Next summer there will be several more new players to be added through the draft and free agency. "2010-2011 could be something of a laboratory, too," says Kahn. "There are so many things that can change, but with the path we're on, I think the third year is the first time we can really expect to make a playoff push."

As for Big Al, he sounds like he's about done with rebuilding.

Al Jefferson, the team's MVP and the star they received in the Garnett trade, flatly rejects that schedule, saying "It shouldn't be no three years." While hardly bitter, Jefferson is not guzzling the kool-aid of rebuilding either. "I was a little disappointed about Kevin McHale leaving, and also a little disappointed about Sebastian Telfair leaving," he says. "But I understand it's a business, and I understand David Kahn is here to do a job and he's doing it. ... The team becomes part of your family. You get close to guys, and to see them go, it hurts. ... I miss the guys. But you move on, and it's a new beginning."

Oh yeah, and there's "the Spanish kid" (they are still working on that pesky buyout):

"I have a gut feeling, right now, that Ricky would be the starter," says Rambis. "Flynn with his speed and and nastiness as a defender, I see him being a key player off the bench ... but it's not set in stone."

So what do you think?  Is this team finally headed in the right direction?