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Tag:Kurt Rambis
Posted on: September 26, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Kevin Love lost more than 20 pounds this summer

Posted by Ben Golliver

kevin-love-skinny

Who knew the best way to lose weight was to subsist solely on a diet of Cuervo Girl sandwiches? Take that, Subway Jared.

Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love writes on Grantland.com that he was able to drop more than 20 pounds from his listed weight of 260 this offseason.
Professionally, the time provided me with an opportunity to rest and methodically work my way up to a healthy state. I worked slowly and built up my stamina and strength through yoga, strength training, and cardiovascular conditioning … I feel better than I ever have. For the first time since my freshman year in high school (2003-04) I weigh under 240 pounds, and my strength has consistently gone up. First, I took my time building back up, and treated the latter part of April and the whole month of May as a recovery period from the 10 straight months of basketball. Not that I am the only one who plays this much throughout the course of a year; I know that many players do this, and some even take their teams deep into the postseason year in and year out. This year, for example, some of the players from the World Championships moved deep into the playoffs and their teams saw immense success. While I pay those individuals much respect, knowing the NBA could head into a long and drawn out offseason gave me peace of mind that I could rest my body and mind to prepare for the next step in my career.
The obvious question here: How will the self-reported lost weight and increased strength change his game? 

Will it help his offensive versatility and defensive mobility? Will it allow him to continue to develop his three-point shooting game? Will it make him better able to guard the league's combo forwards? Will it make him an ideal trail man on the fast break?

The quick-trigger answer: We might not ever know for sure.

Love put up 20.2 points and a league-leading 15.2 rebounds per game in 2010-2011 but he played for a Timberwolves squad that was a total statistical anomaly. Under former coach Kurt Rambis, Minnesota played at the league's fastest pace but was a bottom-7 offensive team and was a bottom-4 defense in terms of effiency. They were way below average in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, dead last in assist rate and dead last in turnover rate. Next season will bring a new coach, Rick Adelman, and a new point guard, Ricky Rubio, into the fold. It will also see the addition of rookie forward Derrick Williams, a potentially explosive offensive force, to the team's frontcourt.

All told, that's a lot of major variables before we even get to Love's physical specs. Whether or not his game changes as much as his body has, it's a safe bet that Love's number will look different -- perhaps quite different -- next season.

Hat tip: SI.com and TwinCities.com
Posted on: September 2, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Timberwolves lose assistant GM Tony Ronzone

Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-kahn

The surest sign of dysfunction in the NBA is employee turnover.

The model, successful franchises realize that the relationship between basketball operations staff, coaching staff and players is a delicate chemistry, and they seek to find the right pieces and understand that those relationships need plenty of time to germinate together. The league's weaker sisters, on the other hand, can chew through executives, coaches and players at an astonishing rate, out of impatience, frustration, dissatisfaction or any number of other negative reasons.

So it should come as no surprise that the Minnesota Timberwolves -- winners of just 32 games combined over the last two seasons, still without a head coach after months, and still led by bumbling president David Kahn -- are parting ways with a key basketball operations executive less than 18 months after bringing him aboard.

StarTribune.com reports that Minnesota and assistant GM Tony Ronzone are heading down opposite forks in the road.
Timberwolves assistant general manager Tony Ronzone has left the organization. Known for his international-scouting connections, he was hired in spring 2010 just about the time Fred Hoiberg was headed for Iowa State's head-coaching job and had a voice in personnel moves that included drafting Wes Johnson and Derrick Williams as well as trading away Al Jefferson, acquiring Michael Beasley and re-signing center Darko Milicic.

The Wolves, through a spokesman, said they and Ronzone mutually have agreed to part ways and wished him good luck.

It's been a messy summer for the Timberwolves basketball operations staff. Kahn insinuated the NBA Draft Lottery was rigged and then back-tracked. The organization burned two draft picks for nothing when they traded an injured Jonny Flynn to the Houston Rockets and drafted a 26-year-old player who was technically ineligible to be selected. On top of that, Kahn bungled the firing of former head coach Kurt Rambis badly and has yet to select a replacement, making the Timberwolves the only team in the league without a head coach. Kahn also violated the NBA's gag order on discussing players during the lockout by referring to multiple members of his team during a press conference, a move that reportedly drew a fine from the league office.

We don't know why, specifically, Ronzone decided to bounce out of town, but no one would blame him if he simply said, "enough is enough."

Regardless of Ronzone's motivations or the circumstances surrounding his depature, executive turnover can be as damaging as roster turnover to a basketball team's on-court success. GM's and presidents have varying philosophies and look to target coaches and players who will carry out those ideas. Locating new executives resets that whole process, and the organization finds itself spinning its wheels in the meantime.

If there's a bright spot here it's that the lockout currently has no end in sight, so Kahn need not rush to fill these vacancies. But it takes a good organization to attract and retain good people, a fact that doesn't bode well for the Timberwolves. 
Posted on: July 13, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:41 pm
 

NBA threatens Blazers GM Buchanan with $1 M fine?

The NBA reportedly threatened Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan with a $1 million fine. Posted by Ben Golliver. lockout

The second the NBA lockout went into effect on July 1, the league took great care to make its players disappear. The NBA ordered mammoth fines if team executives made public reference to current players and, in a particularly petty move, scrubbed NBA.com of references to current players.

As of yet, no fines have been publicly announced for violating the league's lockout-induced gag order on team executives.

However, the Portland Tribune reports that at least one has been threatened with a $1 million hit for a seemingly innocuous comment.
The league office has prohibited the teams’ employees from commenting on players. Employees can talk about team issues, evidently, but not about players.

“There’s a line in the sand that the NBA has drawn for everybody, but nobody knows exactly where the line is,” one NBA team employee says. “Everybody is scared, not wanting to be the first to be hit with a fine.”

Witness a recent interview with Trail Blazers acting General Manager Chad Buchanan. When it was observed that it’s too bad there is no summer league scheduled, Buchanan replied, “Yeah.”

Shortly thereafter, the league threatened Buchanan with a $1 million fine, according to one source. 

Update: Buchanan went a little further than simply saying "yeah," telling The Oregonian in June that the cancellation of Summer League was "disappointing" and "not ideal." 

Clearly, that's ridiculous. It's also a little scary that the NBA league office is monitoring public comments that closely. But, hey, it's their perogative and their policy.

That policy faces a much more interesting test case thanks to Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn.

On Tuesday, the Timberwolves called a press conference to announce the firing of head coach Kurt Rambis. During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, Kahn made reference to at least two current Timberwolves: center Brad Miller and guard Ricky Rubio.

Speaking about the youth of his team, Kahn said it was possible that even with the addition of the 35-year-old Miller, who was acquired in a draft day trade with the Houston Rockets, the Timberwolves could still have the youngest average age in the NBA. Kahn also briefly discussed Rubio in response to a question about what the Spanish point guard would do during the lockout.

To make matters worse, Kahn's comments were streamed live on video on the team's official website, NBA.com/Timberwolves. In other words, the NBA league office can't help but be aware of them. (An edited, condensed version of the press conference archived on the site leaves out the references to both Miller and Rubio.)

The NBA has reached its first pivotal fork in the road during this lockout period when it comes to this policy. Commissioner David Stern can either look the other way on a blatant violation of his very clear, oft-repeated and referenced  gag order policy or he can fine Kahn as his office has reportedly threatened to fine Buchanan. If the league chooses to fine Kahn, who was fined $50,000 last year for comments made about forward Michael Beasley, does it keep its word and go for the full million dollars? After posing in dictatorial fashion for the last two weeks, the NBA can't let the first obvious violator off easily, can it?
Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:09 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Kevin Love on Rambis, overseas, lockout

Posted by Matt Moore

Kevin Love had himself quite the day on Tuesday. Earlier in the afternoon, his team (which has locked him out along with the rest of the NBPA) fired his head coach, Kurt Rambis, the second coach Love has seen go in his three years in the league. His general manager took to the stage and said a number of bizarro things. Then Love attended the Gatorade Athlete of the Year banquet for the third time. Had himself quite the day, the first-time All-Star and NBA's Most Improved Player for 2010-2011 did. 

Love's one of the more focused guys in terms of his approach to the game, which is part of the reason Gatorade has put him front and center, and you can tell the lockout is grinding on him. 

"Basketball's my first love," Love said via telephone interview Tuesday night. "To have an extended summer, I'm not completely mad at it, but at the same time, this is what I do, basketball's my life." 

Love made it clear that the players are not oblivious to how the lockout which began on July 1st appears to the public. 

"For the fans, with both the NFL and the NBA, not only do they want to see the games on Sundays and Thursday nights for football, but they want to see us. And we know they don't want to see billionaire owners and millionaire players bickering over money." 

But since the lockout is out of his control, Love's going to take a look around at other options to pursue that "first love" of his. After Deron Williams' suprising exodus-in-wait announcement about playing for Besiktas in Europe, the headlines have been flooded with comments and rumors about players possibly headed overseas next year. I told Love I would be the 9,000th person this week to ask him about his plans for playing overseas, and Love made it clear as most players are: nothing is done yet, but the option is being considered. 

"We're definitely checking out our options," Love said. "We're definitely open to hearing from them. I'm going to sit back and wait to see what a lot of the other guys do, but it's definitely intriguing. At the same time, though, I just want the lockout to be settled."

As for Rambis, Love called the firing of the second-year head coach a "tough situation" while also supporting Rambis by saying he expects the former Laker assistant to have another job soon with all his experience. Love also made reference to how the front office approached the situation, a process Ken Berger of CBSSports.com called "embarassing" which was echoed by most who cover or operate in the league's coaching circles. 

"(Rambis) was put in limbo for a while by our front office. They took their time and weighed all their options. Kurt's going to find another opportunity. He's going to get another job soon."

Love has had an embattled relationship with both Rambis and General Manager David Kahn amid subtle comments from Love questioning the direction of the franchise and both the front office and coaching staff's decision to bury him up until the second month of this season -- at which time Love exploded into an All-Star and the Most Improved Player. He set a record for consecutive double-doubles in a season and had a 30-point, 30-rebound game for the first time since Moses Malone. So, yeah, looks like KLove may have been right about that whole "needing more minutes thing." Tuesday night, though, Love said he was hopeful the relationship with his next coach would be better. 

"You always hope for the best," he said. "I want to have a great relationship with whoever coaches the Timberwolves or whoever coaches me throughout my career."

So what kind of coach does Love think the Timberwolves need as one of the youngest in the league, but one that David Kahn says is "through rebuilding?"

"As far as us having a young team," Love said, "we're going to need, I won't say a disciplinarian, but a guy who can teach us how to win and has been there and done that."

Good luck with finding a coach with that kind of resume this late in the game. At the same time, not like there's an upcoming training camp to worry about so maybe the Wolves do have some time. 

While the Wolves figure out their coaching situation and the league sorts out its lockout, Love said he'll be splitting his time between training in Minnesota and southern California where he was born, raised, went to school, and calls home. He'll be training at his former school -- UCLA -- and said he would "definitely" be playing in the infamous pick-up games on campus. He'll also have plenty of time for his charity events and for nights like Tuesday's Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Awards banquet in Hollywood. 

The award is for the top national high school competitors in twelve sports who excel not only on the field but in the classroom and off the field through charity and community service. The award, which has been given since 1985, is selected based on those who "achieve in the classroom and demonstrate strong character." Winners are selected by a panel of nationwide sportswriters and commentators. Love himself won the award in 2007, and has attended the event as a representative for basketball the past two years. 

So Love had a pretty good time, since he also said Tuesday night he planned on attending again in 2012.

"Every time you can come back to see the new wave of high school athletes, it's great," Love said via telephone interview Tuesday night. "I was here in 2007 accepting it, and seeing the new winners is so rewarding. I'm looking forward to next year as well."

Hey, at least Love knows one thing that'll be happening next year.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 12:51 pm
 

Timberwolves finally, mercifully fire Rambis

Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has confirmed reports from from Yahoo! Sports that Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis, after months speculation, was finally fired today by Wolves management.  

The Wrath of Kahn: Rambis fired
Rambis' release follows months of not only needless speculation and waiting as Rambis waited for the axe to fall, but downright embarassing treatment of the former Laker. Ken Berger detailed how GM David Kahn has treated Rambis since deciding to fire him months ago, including demanding a written report from Rambis reviewing his job performance.  There were reports Rambis was to be fired after the draft in June, but even before that, Rambis was not even included in pre-draft workout planning or consulted with during the workouts. Berger reported as early as March 11th that Rambis could be headed for the chopping block. 

Whether it was an effort to convince Rambis to step down to avoid paying him the remainder of his contract, or simple old-fashioned incompetence, the way this has been handled is embarrassing for Glen Taylor, David Kahn, the Wolves organziation, and the NBA. It's a borderline case for a lawsuit, considering the disrespectul treatment of Rambis whose only real crime was trying to run a flawed system that hasn't succeeded in the past 30 years without Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan involved, and being saddled with one of the most questionable general managers in the league.

Kahn drafted two point guards, then hired a coach whose system minimizes the role of the point guard. The Triangle would emphasize Kevin Love's strengths if used right. Naturally, Love was buried until he finally forced his way out, despite reports that neither Kahn nor Rambis thought much of Love. It was a failed regime from the get-go. Now Rambis stands as the fall guy for the mistakes of the organization as they try and move forward.

Reports surfaced earlier this month that the Wolves were actually actively bringing in coaching candidates for interviews. Most recently, Bernie Bickerstaff, a veteran front office man and assistant last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, was brought in to interview for a job with Rambis still technically in the position.  

So ends the Rambis era in Minnesota.

The Kahn era continues.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 9:29 pm
 

Report: Rambis to be fired after the draft

Posted by Royce Young

It's been a long time coming for Kurt Rambis. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported months ago -- literally -- that Rambis would be fired as head coach of the Timberwolves.

According to Yahoo! Sports, it's finally going to happen, right after the draft. I guess his book report wasn't good enough for David Kahn.
Kahn isn’t expected to announce the decision until after Thursday’s NBA draft, but he’s already begun collecting information on prospective replacements for Rambis, including University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, sources said. The Timberwolves have gathered background on Romar for several weeks, and are expected to make him a candidate to replace Rambis.

Kahn met with Rambis last week and believes he has reached an impasse with the coach. The relationship between Kahn and Rambis deteriorated over the course of the past season, to the point where there’s been little communication between them.

Lorenzo Romar? That is just so... Kahn. But this firing really has been coming for a while. Interesting though how strung out it was and that for some reason the Wolves are waiting around to do it. I don't really understand why wait. It should be like a bandaid -- right off.

It's possible that Ricky Rubio's arrival set the wheels in motion finally as the triangle system really doesn't fit a point guard like Rubio. The Wolves have been saying that they want to play up tempo and fast and while Rambis had his team in the top five in pace, they still stayed within the triangle structure. Obviously that's not what Kahn and management have in mind for their new floppy-haired point guard.

Rambis still has two years left on his original four-year deal. During those two seasons with the Wolves, Rambis went 32-132 as the head coach, including a league-worst 17-65 this year. The wolves 32-132 record the past two seasons is up there in terms of futility during a two-year span. And this is with Kahn saying in April that the building project was done. Except for the coach, I guess.

With as dysfunctional as the situation and locker room became in Minnesota, not only is Rambis being moved out not a surprise, but it makes me wonder who exactly is raising their hand real high for a shot at this team. Which is sad, because I think there's a lot of fun talent to work with.

I'm sure Rambis will get another shot as he was one of the most highly sought after assistants before he left the Lakers and took over the Wolves. That roster was never built to succeed and Rambis was left trying to implement a system with players that never fit it. There's talent there, but the whole thing is a mess. The next guy will have some players to work with, but it'll be a big job in figuring out how to use the rag-tag bunch of raw talent Kahn has accumulated.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:51 am
 

Trade rumor: Knicks after Wolves G Jonny Flynn?

The New York Knicks are reportedly considering trading for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn. Posted by Ben Golliver. jonny-flynn

Clear the decks for Ricky Rubio!

The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally convinced the Spanish point guard to come to the NBA for next season. That means the team must now resolve a problem created when the Timberwolves drafted two point guards in the first six picks of the 2009 NBA Draft.

The easiest way to make sure that Rubio has enough playing time and space to get acclimated to the NBA game? Ship out Flynn, of course.

The New York Daily News reports that the Timberwolves and New York Knicks have discussed a Flynn trade.
The Knicks have had preliminary discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a trade for point guard Jonny Flynn.

No formal deal is in place, but the Knicks are debating whether Flynn, the sixth overall pick of the 2009 draft would be a viable option to back up Chauncey Billups for at least one season. Flynn has become expendable now that the Wolves have signed Spanish guard Ricky Rubio, who was taken one pick ahead of Flynn.

Toney Douglas would likely be the player traded for Flynn.
If All-Star appearances were handed out based on personality, Flynn would be a perennial selection. Unfortunately, a back injury and a rough transition into coach Kurt Rambis' triangle offense have stunted his growth as an NBA player. 

To date, he's proved to be a jitterbug that can provide some scoring punch but not much else. Flynn's fit as a backup point guard would be slightly better than Douglas' but not markedly so. Both are scoring guards, but Flynn has more upside as a distributor. It's quite possible he looks much better as a playmaker when he's sharing the court with Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony rather than Darko Milicic and Martell Webster.

A change of scenery will no doubt do Flynn a lot of good. Trading for Flynn, who's coming off an injury and playing for a terrible team for two years, is the definition of "buying low." One concern: He is on the books for $3.4 million next season, which is a bit more than teams like to pay for a relatively unproven backup point guard. 

The Knicks, of course, have bigger questions at point guard. They will need to move Billups at some point if they hope to become a true championship contender. This trade is definitely one you consider from New York's perspective. The more talent you get behind Billups the better. Flynn's quickness would seem to be a major asset in coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system. 

This wouldn't be a game-changing move for the Knicks, but Flynn's charisma seems like a natural fit at Madison Square Garden.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:26 pm
 

David Kahn makes Kurt Rambis write a report

Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn reportedly assigned coach Kurt Rambis a report on how to improve the team. Posted by Ben Golliver. david-kahn

Flush with confidence after finally landing Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio after years of waiting, Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn has reportedly taken an unusual step in managing his head coach.

Kahn has kept coach Kurt Rambis in limbo since the season ended, with rumors swirling around his job. Now, the Star-Tribune reports that Kahn made Rambis write a report about improving the team.
Kahn said on Friday that he asked Rambis to write an extensive, detailed report about his team and the changes he would make if he comes back for a third season as head coach in Minnesota. Kahn said he asked Rambis to complete the report in mid May, and the coach turned it in last weekend, setting up a series of meetings this week.

Kahn and Rambis met for four hours on Thursday night and were scheduled to meet for another few hours on Friday.

"I really asked him to be as comprehensive and as thorough as possible. ... And I assured him that we would meet before any decision was made and this was really the quickest day that we could meet," Kahn said Friday in his first comments about the coaching situation since the season ended on April 13.
I offer this report to Rambis to use free of charge.

Thesis statement: Improvement will come with competent drafting. Supporting arguments: Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Wesley Johnson.
 
It's unclear whether Kahn intended it to come off like this, but this news just screams condescending and demeaning. Plans are great, scouting reports are wonderful, but making it known publicly after weeks of uncertainty that you're requiring your head coach to save his job by making him resort to a grade school staple is just too much, even for Kahn. 

If Kahn needs a report to gauge whether his coach should stick around, he probably shouldn't be empowered as the franchise's lead decision-maker. If this is just a dog-and-pony show, which is what this feels like, it comes off as confrontational and divisive rather than inspiring and clear-headed. How does that help a struggling franchise turn things around? Doesn't it do more harm than good?
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com