Blog Entry

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 6:43 pm

CHICAGO -- NBA officials are evaluating whether to fine Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn for comments suggesting Tuesday night's draft lottery was rigged, sources told

A decision on what to do with Kahn over his latest insensitive and inapropriate public remarks could be delayed because top league executives are traveling and scattered for multiple events, including the pre-draft camp and competition committee meeting Wednesday in Chicago. Commissioner David Stern and general counsel Richard Buchanan have yet to confer with other top officials, and there is expected to be a difference of opinion on whether fining Kahn and the Timberwolves would simply draw more attention to the unfortunate comments.

Meanwhile, Kahn told Wednesday that his comments were meant as a joke, but reiterated that he believes in "the power of story."

The Timberwolves drew the No. 2 pick Tuesday night, losing out to the Cavaliers -- who were represented by owner Dan Gilbert's 14-year-old son, Nick, who suffers from a disease that causes tumors to grow throughout his body. Instead of being gracious, Kahn unleashed the following apparent attempt at humor and cleverness, which instead resonated with arrogance, poor taste, and what one league official called "bad karma."

"This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines," Kahn said. "Last year it was Abe Pollin's widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin (O'Connor, GM of the Jazz, who got the No. 3 pick): 'We're toast.' This is not happening for us and I was right."

If you like to hear and see stupid things first-hand, rather than just read the quotes, you can watch Kahn's buffoonery here.

Speaking Wednesday to at the Westin Hotel in Chicago, where league executives convened for the pre-draft camp and competition committee meeting, Kahn said his comments were made in jest and that he didn’t intend to imply that the lottery was rigged. But then he may have unintentionally dug a deeper hole when he reiterated the essence of his comment, saying he believes in “the power of story.”

“The first questions I was asked last night by the reporters were, did I feel that the Timberwolves were jinxed,” Kahn said. “You know, we have a poor lottery record. And I want to say for the record, I don’t believe in jinxes, curses, hocus pocus, and I don’t believe we’ve been harmed in any way. What I said last night, I do believe in the power of story. And I just felt it was a heck of a lot better story for a 14-year-old to beat out two middle-aged executives standing together on a stage on national TV, and that our league has had its own share of luck in being a part of those stories. That’s it. Anybody ascribing anything else to it is completely doing their own thing.”

Kahn pointed out that his comment Tuesday night “elicited laughter,” and said, “There was no follow-up question. Nobody said, ‘Do you understand what you just said?’ No, because everybody knew context. But I do understand, to your point, just reading it dry, that somebody could infer that. So lesson learned.”

Asked again Wednesday if he was simply reiterating his assertion that the lottery results were rigged to produce a better story, Kahn said, “Absolutely not. I’m just saying that, if you look at sports in general, typically fairy tale stories, Cinderella stories, whatever you want to say, those tend to dominate sports. I just knew when you’re standing there with a 14-year-old kid, logically the 14-year-old kid … it had nothing to do with being nefarious.”

Kahn said he hadn’t heard from the league about the comments, but said he wouldn’t be surprised if he received a fine.

“I’ve had money taken away from me before,” Kahn said. “It probably won’t be the last time. It is what it is.”

Whether Kahn’s comments warrant a fine or not, his latest in a pattern of missteps had rival executives shaking their heads in exasperation and privately mocking him Wednesday. In one fell swoop, Kahn offended the family of late owner Abe Pollin, reduced an heroic 14-year-old suffering from a horrific disease to a “storyline,” and insinuated that the primary means for bad NBA teams to improve – a process independently audited by an accounting firm – was fixed. And worse, upon reflection, Kahn didn’t seem to realize or care that he had done any of this.

“He oozes smug,” one rival team employee said.

Kahn and his organization were most recently fined $50,000 each last July for Kahn’s comments about Michael Beasley’s marijuana use – comments that were made soon after Kahn acquired Beasley in a trade with the Heat. This is not the kind of mistake that a seasoned, capable executive should make – especially one who is so close to Stern, who is mostly responsible for Kahn’s continued gainful employment in the NBA. Kahn’s basketball career began as an attorney at Proskauer Rose, the Manhattan law firm which handled, and continues to handle, NBA litigation.

Even now, with his organization hoping to secure a commitment from 2009 first-round pick Ricky Rubio to leave Spain and join the Timberwolves next season, Kahn’s latest actions have threatened what should be a positive, forward-looking time for a team that has endured years of hopeless ineptitude – some of it, Kahn’s own doing.

Overpaying for Darko Milicic and Nicola Pekovic while still having the lowest payroll in the NBA (when adjusted for Eddy Curry’s buyout) tells you all you need to know about Kahn’s basketball acumen. It’s truly amateur hour when the same GM who drafted two point guards on consecutive selections in 2009 now complains about being denied the No. 1 pick in the lottery – when the consensus top pick is, you guessed it, a point guard.

Had Minnesota gotten the No. 1 pick, Kahn would’ve had a controversy much bigger than this one on his hands – being forced to explain why he did or didn’t select Kyrie Irving first overall with Rubio, fellow 2009 lottery pick Jonny Flynn, and Luke Ridnour already Wolves property.

“But that’s presuming there would’ve been a controversy,” Kahn said. “I’m not in a position to presume that and I wouldn’t presume that if I were you. It hasn’t been discussed, internally or externally.”

In addition, the organization has needlessly dragged out the presumed firing of coach Kurt Rambis, whose representatives are meeting with Kahn in Chicago this week but still may not come away with a final answer on his future. Don’t cry for Rambis, who will see the more than $4 million remaining on his contract either way, but that’s not the point. The point is, Rambis deserves better. So do Wolves fans, and the rest of the NBA.

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 8:22 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

take the horns off, if you don't b;eed minnesota for all get the real band wagon moron.

Since: Mar 25, 2009
Posted on: May 18, 2011 8:21 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

first off, anyone who was the least bit familiar with the draft lottery this year, knew before the lottery even started, that there was a very strong possibility that cleveland would recieve 2 of the top 4 picks, i wasnt the least bit surprised, and keep something else in mind, clevelands pick is the #4 pick, they cashed in by trading mo williams for baron davis and the #1 overall pick, no need to say anything is rigged when it was nothing more than one hell of a trade for the cavs, credit dan gilbert, but i cant help but say shame on the clippers, they traded an aging point guard and the #1 pick for a mediocre point guard, if they would have stood pat, they would have kyrie irving on the way to play with blake griffen and eric gordon, instead they now will be looking at gambling with the lotto again next year, probably picking somewhere between 4 and 10, not sure they are the worst in the league anymore with griffen, had the clips added kyrie, they could have improved to a possible 7 or 8 seed in the west

Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 8:20 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

there is no such thing as pro wrestling, it's called entertainment. is that that how pro sports is to be determined by the idiot masses who deem what is fun to watch. The Harlem Globetrotters are fun to watch, I want competition not a predeterminened outcome.


Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:46 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:40 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Wolves fans don't deserve better.  

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:28 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

still living in the trailer park 

You give hockey fans a bad name.

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:16 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

National media is way overblowing this like CNN and FOX do to stories.    Anyway, anybody with half a brain knows the NBA lottery is rigged.    Why else do they do it behind closed doors...  you'd think you'd get ratings if people could watch it.    Duh.

Since: Jun 19, 2009
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:13 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

I don't know what is worse.  The fact that an NBA executive would claim that the draft lotto is rigged or that some of you have responded with statements supporting this nonsense.  It is what it is, scoreboard, the Cavaliers got the picks based on mathematics and based on some luck.  Why would anyone read anything else in to it.  We are a small market team here, how does the NBA truly benefit by rigging the lotto for Cleveland or even Minnesota.  If somehow the Lakers got it or the Heat or even the Bulls, then you could maybe wonder.
The fact that this ape even paralleled Dan Gilbert's son into his remark is unconsciounable.  Get over people, the Cavs came out winners last night for the first time in a long time.  Why is that such a tough pill to swallow?

Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:04 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Its why the NBA is the worst of the four majors, and nobody cares....The worst team doesnt get the 1st pick? Why is that? Oh, because a team lost over 180 million in net worst and Stern needs to beef it back up. Either way, to bad for that kid, he has to live in cleavland...Which SUCKS!

Since: May 17, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:03 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

Instead he just whining.......

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