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Kahn won't trade Al Jefferson, unless ...

By Chris Sheridan

NEW YORK - ... "someone calls up with a deal that’s so preposterously one-sided, we'd have to do it."

Those words came from the mouth of Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn, who spoke to me this morning at Madison Square Garden while the folks back home in Minneapolis were wondering why the possibility of trading Jefferson was back in the news.

Kahn acknowledged that the Wolves have received offers for Jefferson, but he emphasized that he is not looking to trade the 25-year-old cornerstone of the franchise.

“I think Al actually backed up exactly the conversation we had face-to-face in Denver a couple of weeks ago, and that was as follows: ‘Al, I am not looking to trade you, and that’s the truth. I haven’t made one phone call all year long proposing a deal that involved Al Jefferson, and I won’t do so this year,’ " Kahn said.

“I also said ‘At the same time, Al, you know, though, that I can’t control this totally. If somebody calls and makes us an offer that is so obvious, we have to do it. And he said ‘Of course, I know that, David. You can never promise that.’”

Jefferson is making $12 million and is under contract for three more years at $13M, $14M and $15 million, the rich reward he reaped for being the centerpiece of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston.

But with the Timberwolves in a long-term rebuilding mode, teams have been inquiring whether the Wolves want to spend all that money on one player, or whether they'd consider breaking him down into a combination of players and draft picks.

So far, the answer has been 'no' every time.

"I feel the kid is doing everything that is asked of him by the coaching staff," Kahn said. "He’s playing defense better than he ever has in his career, he’s looking to pass out of double teams. They’ve asked him to do much more with his game, and he’s doing it in a year when he's recovering from a very significant knee injury. So it would be total insanity on our part, because this is a year that’s important to figure out who we are. Neither Kurt (Rambis) nor I was here before, so this year is very much from a discovery standpoint, that’s what we need to do."

So while the Amar'e Stoudemire rumors have a basis in truth -- I listed the chances of him being dealt at 60-40 in yesterday's chat -- a Jefferson deal is far more unlikely.

"In this league you can make some terrible decisions when you make them hastily, without full information, or letting people evolve. We won’t do that here," Kahn said.

And what would define "preposterously one-sided" -- the phrase Kahn himself used to describe what's it'd take for him to trade Jefferson?

"Something that even Al Jefferson would have to say, 'David you have to do that,'" Kahn said.