MINNEAPOLIS -- The NBA's lockout is tentatively over, but Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn took time Thursday to answer questions about his team and the upcoming 2012 season.
The Timberwolves welcome point guard Ricky Rubio to the mix after drafting him No. 5 overall in the 2009 draft. They'll also add rookie Derrick Williams, whom they selected with the second-overall pick in this year's draft. On top of that, Minnesota hired Rick Adelman as the team's new head coach, replacing Kurt Rambis.
It was a busy summer for the Wolves. Now with the lockout set to officially end soon, Kahn said he's eager for basketball to finally resume.
"I'm really looking forward to the season, and I think most people are," Kahn said. "I just sense in the community just in the times I've been stopped. I'm looking forward to this with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm and I hope that's shared by the community as well. It should be a fun year."
The 2011-12 season will be a shortened one, beginning around Christmas Day and lasting 66 games, rather than the usual 82-game season. Training camp and the preseason will also be abbreviated, presenting a challenge to all teams -- but especially to a young Wolves squad with a new head coach.
"I think we're all eager to see the challenges of playing 66 in such a compressed window may develop or what that means," Kahn said. "Once we see the schedule, we should also be able to figure out those first few weeks how intense they will be in terms of that. But with any new situation, no matter what, all the teams that have new staffs in place will be facing those same challenges. In our case, the fact that we have 13 players under contract will be helpful at least."
Kahn reiterated that he's happy with the players the Timberwolves currently have on the roster, adding that no one should expect any "wholesale roster movement" between now and the start of the season.
"That doesn't mean we may not do some pruning and some tweaking between now and the start of the season, or even after the start of the season," Kahn said. "I'm very excited to see them have the opportunity to develop under Rick and his staff. ... I think Rick and I have talked a lot about this. He's very excited to see what he has so I think it will be important to really allow him and his staff a long period of time to really familiarize themselves with our roster."
Part of the new-look Wolves will be in the front office. Tony Ronzone, who served as assistant general manager, had a mutual parting of ways with the club in September. Kahn said Thursday that several new faces will be expected to help turn around the struggling franchise.
That includes R.J. Adelman, Rick's son, whom Kahn said will work both on the personnel side and with game day preparation.
"We've streamlined certain things and we've also I think added some muscle in an area that I think we needed to add some muscle," Kahn said. "In addition to R.J., we have two or three really capable, confident younger people on our staff who have been with us now for a couple years who I think have bright futures in our business. ... Something that's been important to me throughout, but we finally are doing some things in the statistical area that I hope we were kind of even with the curve, but I think this will maybe even put us a little bit ahead of the curve."
Kahn still can't have contact with players due to lockout rules, nor could he comment Thursday on terms of the collective bargaining agreement. He was asked several times about Rubio, but declined to comment.
"I just haven't seen him in months and I haven't talked to him in months," Kahn said.
He could, however, address star forward Kevin Love's contract situation, saying he hopes the Wolves can re-sign Love to a contract extension.
"It's certainly a priority that we do," Kahn said. "I've said this consistently: I expect Kevin to be a big part of our franchise for a number of years."
Thursday was the first day NBA players could return to their team's practice facilities for the first time since the lockout began, but they can only interact with the training and medical staff. Coaches still can't be present for workouts.
Forward Anthony Randolph was the only Wolves player at the Target Center practice facility Thursday, but he declined to meet with the media. Kahn expects more players to make their way back to the Twin Cities soon as they all await the start of a new season.
"I think others will start filtering in this weekend," Kahn said. "I think we'll have a full set here by next Tuesday, or at least almost a full set by Tuesday, which I think is a hell of a sign of their excitement and enthusiasm as well for this coming year."