Tag:David Kahn
Posted on: July 7, 2011 1:27 pm

Kahn's embarrassing handling of Rambis

Evidently, there is a method to David Kahn’s madness. And as always, follow the money if you want the explanation.

Kurt Rambis hasn’t coached a game for the Timberwolves in nearly three months. He will never coach a game for them again. Despite technically still being under contract, Rambis has been informed that he need not be in Minnesota for the offseason – and this was the case even before the lockout. Sources say only two members of the Wolves’ coaching staff, J.B. Bickerstaff and Darrick Martin, have been asked to come to work at the team’s offices this summer. Everyone else can, you know, go on vacation – where Rambis, in particular, won’t have to spend his days staring at the writing on the wall.

Sources have said there is no provision in Rambis’ contract that would’ve saved the Wolves money by waiting until after July 1 to officially fire him. Rambis is owed $4 million over the next two seasons regardless of when he is fired.

But as Yahoo! Sports reports, Kahn had other ideas. The possibility of offering Rambis a reassignment within the basketball operations department has been discussed internally, though it is not believed to have been formally proposed to Rambis. It is beyond question that Rambis has no desire to accept such an arrangement. Sources say the former Lakers assistant has little use for Kahn as a basketball executive, much less one that he would continue to work for after being removed as coach.

Kahn’s mishandling of Rambis’ firing – which still, inexplicably, hasn’t happened – is an embarrassment for the organization at a time when good things finally were starting to happen (Michael Beasley's citation for marijuana possession notwithstanding). Ricky Rubio is signed for next season – whenever next season is – and although Kahn had virtually nothing to do with it, it’s nonetheless an important moment for a franchise that has won a grand total of 32 games the past two seasons.

But no amount of progress could stand in the way of Kahn’s efforts to further ingratiate himself to owner Glen Taylor by proposing this insulting, cost-saving arrangement with Rambis. Business simply isn’t done this way in a reputable sports league, yet Kahn insists on penny-pinching his way into Taylor’s good graces at the expense of alienating any coaches or front-office executives who might someday be forced to work for him.

Funny, Taylor is one of the owners who are most convinced that the NBA will not have a 2011-12 season, according to sources familiar with his position on the lockout. So maybe Taylor could send Rambis overseas to scout overage potential draft picks in the meantime, instead of paying him to do something more useful – like nothing.

While we’re on the topic, sources say the Wolves expect a favorable ruling from the NBA office that they will be able to keep No. 57 pick Tanguy Nbombo despite a dispute over his age. Though information has come to light that Ngombo is 26 – and thus ineligible for the draft – sources say the Wolves have government documentation from multiple entities that Ngombo is, in fact, 21. The belief among some executives is that a team should not be punished if government documentation is inaccurate.

As for what should be done with buffoonish general managers who continue to embarrass their team and alienate colleagues and competitors with their arrogance and ineptitude? Something else to contemplate during the lockout.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 6:43 pm

Kahn explains comments; NBA considers fine

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 CBSSports.com.

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 CBSSports.com 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 CBSSports.com 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.
Posted on: April 15, 2011 6:59 pm

Taylor: Kahn safe, more time for Rambis

NEW YORK -- Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told CBSSports.com Friday that he needs more time to evaluate coach Kurt Rambis, but that general manager David Kahn is safe.

"What I’ve kind of asked David and the staff to do is, let’s just take a little bit of time now, back off, and ask everybody to put in some evaluations," Taylor said after the NBA Board of Governors meetings. "Also, look at what are our options going ahead. What could we change? Then, come together and talk about what’s the best solution here. My sense is, it’s just too close to a season in which we didn’t meet the goals that we had set out, so it’s a little frustratiing right now. I’d just as soon not make a final decision when you’re in a little bit of a down mood."

Asked if Kahn were undergoing the same type of evaluation, Taylor said he's made the decision to keep his general manager in place despite 32 wins combined over his first two seasons.

"No, I think I‘ve kind of met with the staff and said, 'Let’s go ahead,'" Taylor said. "Because I’m asking those guys to put together the information for me (on Rambis)."

There are strong indications that Rambis will be fired with two years left on his contract. Despite Rambis' accomplishments developing Kevin Love and Michael Beasley -- the latter being a reclamation project that was believed impossible -- the Wolves are seeking a more energetic sideline figure and better communicator. Though Kahn's relationship with Rambis has improved in recent months, the GM held an end-of-season news conference Wednesday in which he did not endorse Rambis returning next season.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:18 am

Myers to Warriors; Kuester, Rambis on way out

Joe Lacob has impressed everyone who's dealt with him so far as an outside-the-box thinker. On Wednesday, the Warriors' owner reached outside the typical circle of candidates and found a sharp, creative basketball man who eventually will run his organization. 

High-profile agent Bob Myers will become the latest to make the transition from the representation business to the front office as the Warriors' new assistant general manager, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com. 

GM Larry Riley will remain in the top spot, but it is clear to those familiar with Lacob's strategy that he envisions Myers eventually taking over the leading role. It is possible that Riley could remain in some capacity when the transition is complete, one of the sources said. 

The move was first reported by San Jose Mercury News. 

Myers, who worked under Arn Tellem at Wasserman Media Group, will renounce his representation ties to all NBA clients. His impressive roster includes such players as Brandon Roy, Tyreke Evans, Kendrick Perkins, Brook Lopez, and DeAndre Jordan. Myers follows in the footsteps of agents-turned executives Jason Levien (formerly with the Kings) and Lon Babby (hired as the Suns' president last summer.) 

The first order of business for the Riley-Myers team will be to decide whether coach Keith Smart will be back for another season. A person familiar with Lacob's strategy said he wants sweeping changes in the long term, but may not be ready to part ways with his coach immediately. Lacob, according to one source, hasn't formed a strong opinion of Smart one way or the other. It could be "a couple of weeks" before the team makes a decision on Smart, according to the source, noting that Lacob wants Myers to "get his feet wet" before making any major decisions. 

The end of the regular season Wednesday night is expected to bring the usual flurry of personnel moves, with Pistons coach John Kuester and Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis the most likely to be fired, multiple sources told CBSSports.com. Kuester's firing is widely believed to be a foregone conclusion, though a source said there is "no timetable for anything" the organization is doing due to the pending ownership change. Rambis' tenuous situation did not get any help from GM David Kahn on Wednesday. 

In holding his season-ending news conference before the season was over, Kahn stopped short of providing a vote of confidence for Rambis and said the coach's fate would be decided after the GM meets with owner Glen Taylor in the coming weeks. There seems to be little reason to wait, as two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com Wednesday that preparations are under way for Rambis to be let go with two years left on his contract. 

Rockets coach Rick Adelman, whose second consecutive season out of the playoffs ended Wednesday night, faces an uncertain future in Houston -- where everyone's contract is up. One person familiar with the situation described Adelman's status Wednesday as "to be determined." 

In Toronto, GM Bryan Colangelo is caught in a dysfunctional situation in which powerful board member Glen Silvestri wants him out. Colangelo had sold ownership on a rebuilding plan in the wake of Chris Bosh leaving for Miami, and "that direction was agreed on," a person familiar with the situation said. But some members of ownership, chiefly Silvestri, are now suffering from what one source described as "convenient amnesia." 

Colangelo's contract expires June 30, and coach Jay Triano also does not have a contract for next season. With the team expected to go up for sale in the next six months, and with a work stoppage looming, it isn't clear how quickly the majority owners will take action. 

Meanwhile, as the Pacers prepare for their first-round playoff series against the top-seeded Bulls, team president Larry Bird remains "conflicted" about his future, a source said. While Bird wants to complete the rebuilding project he undertook with general manager David Morway, there are strong indications that his desire to spend time with his family and get out of the limelight -- where the Hall of Famer has always been a reluctant participant -- is weighing heavily on him. Bird's future directly affects Morway, who is expected to get a shot at the top job if Bird departs. Similarly, interim coach Frank Vogel's future is uncertain, though Vogel has earned the right to receive the first interview if the team embarks on a full-fledged coaching search.
Posted on: July 14, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2010 12:30 pm

Free-Agent Buzz

The Nuggets bolstered their front court Wednesday by agreeing to terms with Al Harrington and Shelden Williams, while also bringing back one of their own free agents, guard Anthony Carter, people with knowledge of the deals confirmed to CBSSports.com.

In giving the full mid-level exception to Harrington -- five years, $34 million -- the Nuggets are now out of the running to match the Raptors' four-year. $18.8 million offer sheet for restricted free agent Linas Kleiza.

Harrington, 29, is a good teammate and proven scorer whose presence will help the Nuggets survive the absence of injured big men Kenyon Martin and Chris "Birdman" Andersen at the start of the 2010-11 season. But Harrington's erratic, often puzzling offensive play could present a problem for a Denver team that already has its share of free spirits.


Luke Ridnour's four-year, $16 million deal with the Timberwolves only bolsters belief around the league that Minnesota will trade Ramon Sessions, one of the many point guard GM David Kahn has assembled. Charlotte, having lost starting point guard Raymond Felton to the Knicks, is the most sensible destination. A person with knowledge of the Bobcats' dealings said the club has yet to engage in such talks with the T-Wolves.

Of far more importance regarding the Ridnour signing is what it says about Ricky Rubio's future in Minnesota, when Kahn already has Ridnour, Jonny Flynn and Sessions (for the time being) to play the same position. The Knicks have coveted Rubio since draft night in 2009, but Kahn continues to steadfastly refuse to entertain trade offers for the Spanish sensation, who will play at least one more season in Italy -- at which time Kahn will persuade him to play for the Timberwolves or acquire three more point guards.


The Hawks want Shaquille O'Neal to eat up some minutes in under the basket and sell some tickets. The Cavs like Marvin Williams, who was drafted under Cleveland GM Chris Grant's watch when Grant was a front-office employee with the Hawks. A sign-and-trade with O'Neal getting the veteran's minimum or close to it -- about the best he's going to do at 38 -- makes perfect sense . But at this point. a person who would be involved in such discussions told CBSSports.com Wednesday it has never been discussed. Give it time.

Posted on: August 6, 2009 11:30 am

Rambis favorite for T-Wolves job

Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis has traveled to Minnesota to meet for a third time with Timberwolves officials about the team's long-vacant head coaching job. A person with direct knowledge of the talks confirmed that Rambis has emerged as the favorite to succeed Kevin McHale and is awaiting a formal contract proposal.

The T-Wolves, led by new GM David Kahn, have undertaken a thorough and painstaking process to name a replacement for McHale, who left the organization amid disagreements with Kahn about how to remake the roster. Kahn interviewed a laundry list of current assistant coaches for the job, illustrating the T-Wolves' unsurprising efforts to minimize the cost of a head coaching hire. The list was recently narrowed to three candidates: Rambis, ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson, and Rockets assistant Elston Turner.

Minnesota's coaching search has been sidetracked this summer by Kahn's efforts to broker a buyout with No. 5 overall pick Ricky Rubio's Spanish team, DKV Joventut. Kahn and T-Wolves owner Glen Taylor met with Rubio's agent, Dan Fegan, last month at Las Vegas Summer League, and Kahn also traveled to Spain in an effort to broker a deal. While Fegan attempts to secure endorsement deals for Rubio that would help fund his buyout -- the T-Wolves can contribute only $500,000 under NBA rules -- Joventut reportedly is weighing whether to accept a buyout or sell his contract to another European team, which could be more lucrative.

Rambis, who helped coach the Lakers to their 15th NBA title in June, has emerged as the favorite partly due to Fegan's fondness for him -- the theory being that hiring a coach Rubio finds acceptable would enhance the chances of the 18-year-old point guard reporting to Minnesota rather than continuing to play overseas.

Rambis going to Minnesota would essentially clear a path for Lakers assistant Brian Shaw to become Phil Jackson's right-hand man on the Lakers' bench and eventually succeed Jackson when he retires.

Posted on: June 27, 2009 1:23 am

Rubio to Knicks? "No"

Reading between the lines is a favorite pastime when it comes to the Knicks. Anything remotely resembling a clue that the NBA's supposed flagship franchise might acquire one of basketball's hottest commodities results in endless speculation, twisted interpretation, and innuendo.

See the entry under James, LeBron.

Now see the new entry under Rubio, Ricky.

Meeting with the media at the Knicks' Westchester County training facility on Friday, team president Donnie Walsh mentioned that he planned to call his former employee, Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn, to find out why he drafted so many point guards. And yes, Walsh coyly stated, Rubio's cold response to being drafted by the 'Wolves and his probable return to Spain as a result would be discussed.

I shudder at the thought of viewing the back pages of the New York tabloids on Saturday. For one, it's my first day off in a long time. For another, Rubio most certainly will be pictured there. If not for Michael Jackson, Rubio might be on the front page.

As I tried to tell you on draft night, there's no need for this. Kahn isn't trading Rubio. He's not going to be a Knick, no matter how much agent Dan Fegan wants him to be. This should be the end of it.

Except ...

Hot items like Rubio have a long shelf life in the basketball-starved New York news cycle. And yes, things change. Circumstances change. People have a right to change their minds. But as of now, Kahn believes in Rubio so much that he's willing to wait a year or two for him to come out of exile in Spain. And the Knicks like their first-round pick, Jordan Hill, just fine.

"Kahn thinks Rubio is the best point ever," a knowledgeable, high-level basketball source told me. And the Knicks? Coach Mike D'Antoni, the person said, "loves Hill. Both stay put."

Just to make sure, I asked the same person early Saturday if anything had changed or was expected to change based on Walsh's planned conversation with Kahn.

"No," he said.

OK, then.

But just to satisfy the endless thirst for a splashy move by the Knicks, what is the best they could offer Minnesota in such a deal? Not Hill, but restricted free agent David Lee, who has received a qualifying offer from the Knicks and can be signed-and-traded after the league and NBA Players Association agree on the 2009-10 salary cap and luxury  tax in mid-July. Last time I checked, the Timberwolves have Al Jefferson. No disrespect to Lee, but Jefferson is better.

Yes, things change and circumstances change. And people have the right to change their minds. But as another high-level basketball source (note sarcasm) said as one of the media availability sessions ended during the NBA Finals: "Move along. There's nothing to see here."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com