Al Jefferson on Trade Rumors: 'Nothing Is Going to Happen'
Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday Jefferson recently was offered to Indiana for forward Danny Granger, but the offer was turned down, and that there are chemistry issues between Jefferson and fellow Timberwolves big man Kevin Love. However, Kahn said Monday the team isn't looking to deal Jefferson by the Feb. 18 deadline.
"I reassured (Jefferson) there was no truth to (the Yahoo! report) whatsoever,'' Kahn told FanHouse.
But that wasn't news to Jefferson. He said he had a meeting with his agent, Jeff Schwartz, in Minneapolis last Wednesday after Schwartz had talked with Kahn.
"My agent came into town and I talked to him Wednesday night, and (Schwartz) said there wasn't nothing to worry about and that nothing is going to happen,'' Jefferson said in an interview with FanHouse after Monday's shootaround in Denver, where the Timberwolves were preparing to face the Nuggets. "He said he didn't think (Kahn) was going to make any moves. So when I heard (about the Yahoo!) report (Sunday) night, in case David Kahn is a big liar, I trust him and believe him. So that's why I wasn't worried.''
Still, Jefferson admitted in the interview he can't say with certainty no deal will come along before the trade deadline.
"I understand it's a business,'' Jefferson said. "I know that, if a sweet deal comes up that the Timberwolves got to take, I've got to understand that. But me and David Kahn have a great relationship. He's never lied to me. I've never lied to him. I think that's the big key to any kind of relationship is to be straight and honest. And I think he has been honest with me so far. Right now, I think if something were going on and they were trying to trade me, he would come to me and talk to me like a man like (Celtics general manager) Danny Ainge did when I got traded from Boston (in the summer of 2007). ... I understand it's a business but I trust David Kahn.''
Speaking to reporters earlier, Jefferson said, "I laugh at rumors. That's what they they are. Rumors.''
While Kahn called the Yahoo! report a "fabrication,'' he wouldn't totally rule out the possibility of Jefferson being moved before the trade deadline. He said that to Jefferson while speaking with him for about 20 minutes Monday.
"What I told Al is I don't want to make a move with any of our core people this season,'' Kahn said. "He also, though, knows that in this league you can't make that promise when you don't have control of whether you can keep it or not. But I don't anticipate, foresee, hope, desire doing anything with any of core players this season.''
Kahn wouldn't go so far as to say there's no chance of Jefferson being moved by Feb. 18.
"You can never say with 100 percent certainty,'' Kahn said. "Maybe there's a few players in our league who don't even need to be named because they're so obvious that you could say there's certainty. But I don't ever want to put ourselves where we say something like that, when you're in a position like I am, where you're trying to rebuild a franchise, that you can make it like a promise that you don't have total control of keeping. I did not promise that, but I also reassured Al that we have absolutely no intention of doing something and I have not made one call to a team saying, 'Would you like have Al?'''
Yahoo! reported there have been chemistry issues between Jefferson and Love. It quoted a source as saying, "There's some jealous stuff that's playing out." Kahn denied that as did both players.
While Jefferson was speaking to reporters after the shootaround, Love came up to give Jefferson a big hug.
"That's (garbage) to me because Kevin is like a son to me in this league, and I give tough love with him,'' Jefferson said. "There's no chemistry (problems). There ain't no jealousy. There ain't nothing like that going on between me and (Love). I don't know where that came from or who made it up.''
Love said there's no friction between the two big men.
"It's kind of laughable to me,'' Love said. "Absolutely. He's been helping me out all along. ... There's nothing between us. ... Just the fact, the whole jealousy thing. He walked in (Monday) morning and we were laughing about it. There's none of those things.''
The 6-foot-10 Love added he and the 6-10 Jefferson "always will'' have to deal with trade rumors because "both of us are undersized'' to play center.
In his interview with FanHouse, Jefferson admitted the two big players must prove they can play alongside each other for the long run in Minnesota.
"That's what me and Love got to do right now is prove to everybody we can play together,'' Jefferson said. "Prove to everybody we can average a double-double. Prove to everybody we can help our team win. So that's up to me and Love. We got to show everybody. People say they don't know because they ain't seen it. But if we show them we can nip that in the butt.''
Jefferson is averaging 17.7 points and 9.1 rebounds and Love 15.4 and 12.4. Jefferson's numbers are down from the 23.1 and 11.0 he put up last season before being lost for the campaign Feb. 8, 2009 due to a torn ACL.
Jefferson said it takes a year to fully heal from such an injury. He said he had a "relapse'' when he was "real sore'' after Saturday's game at Chicago. But he's optimistic he'll pretty much fully be back to his old form by next month.
"I'm working and doing the things I need to do to get my knee back to where I need to be so I'm going to do what I got to do to get it there,'' he said.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @christomasson