Tag:Kurt Rambis
Posted on: June 16, 2011 5:14 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 5:49 pm

Report: Rubio to announce NBA intentions Friday

Posted by Matt Moore

From Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Twitter: 
Spanish media contact tells me Ricky Rubio will hold a news conference tomorrow morning in Barcelona and announce he's headed to the NBA.
via Twitter / @JerryZgoda: Spanish media contact tell ....

 Rubio's been rumored to be on the way for a while. A June 1st report indicated the Wolves had reached an agreement with the Spanish star, and a separate report Thursday indicated his U.S. arrival was imminent. Getting Rubio stateside, under contract, and on the roster before the draft helps the Wolves with both the direction their draft takes and their leverage in deals surrounding their No.2 overall pick or any combination of talent on the roster. The idea has been for Love and Rubio to spearhead the future of the Wolves, with one other player. The No. 2 pick gives them the ability to select that player in Derrick Williams. Now all they need is for Rubio to actually be as good as he was projected to be back when he was drafted, despite a down year in Euroleague play for FC Barcelona. 

Meanwhile, the AP reports that David Kahn and Kurt Rambis are meeting this week... for the first time since the season ended. With that kind of communication going on in the front office, how can Rubio and Williams not be excited about joining the Wolves?
Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:39 pm

Ricky Rubio to arrive next week?

Posted by Royce Young

A couple weeks ago, it was finally settled: Ricky Rubio would finally be coming to America. Then, reports surfaced earlier today making it seem like Rubio's future with Barcelona wasn't entirely squared away.

But despite all that, the Star Tribune reports that Rubio is expected to arrive in Minnesota next week for an "official introduction."

Despite that, I still think most have the Kevin Love mentality of "I'll believe it when I see it." Rubio's the Chinese Democracy of basketball. We know he exists, but we just don't know when he's finally going to happen.

Supposedly, next week.

Rubio reportedly signed his rookie contract on May 31 and all that's left is to settle his buyout with Barcelona, which is now around $1.5 million. Under league rules, the most the Wolves can pay towards that is $500,000 and they will do that. Rubio though shouldn't have too much trouble coming up with the other million as he's been playing professionally since age 16 and has done a number of endorsement deals.

A catch here too: Rubio's arrival could either help Kurt Rambis keep his job or be the final nail in the coffin. According to the Pioneer Press, David Kahn and Rambis will meet sometime next week, likely after the Rubio situation is officially squared away. So if Rambis can get on Team Ricky, maybe that could help save Rambis.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 3:15 pm

Rambis has no clue what's going on with his job

Posted by Matt Moore

You ever hear how people talk about getting fired and how they "never saw it coming?" As if there's something better about seeing your own demise coming from miles away and being helpless to stop it. Well, if you think that's true, check in with Kurt Rambis on how it's going.

Rambis has reportedly been on the way out for a while.  But no one's told him anything. David Kahn hasn't told him either way. So barring a clear reason not to, Rambis showed up in Minnesota for the team's workouts of draft prospects. This despite not knowing if he'll be the one drafting a player or coaching him next season. Rambis elected to speak to reporters at the event, and it turns out that he has no clue about his job situation. which is nice. From The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
It has been more than six weeks since the team's season ended and he still doesn't know if he'll be back as coach.

When asked if he thinks the situation is being handled appropriately, he said, "It's not how I would handle it, no...I think everybody has reasons for why they conduct their business in the way they want to conduct their business. If you're asking me if that's what I'd do, no. That's not how I would handle things, but everybody's different."

He said he and boss David Kahn have had "minor conversations" since the season's end. He also said he expects they will have to have an in-depth conversation about the past season and the future but there's no plans to do that now.
via Kurt Rambis speaks! | StarTribune.com.

 Rambis also said "I'm still the coach, until something happens." 

That's just a terrible situation to be in. Kahn should let him know either way. If the lockout is a factor, let him know that. If he wants a change, make it. But forcing someone to work under these conditions is just bad business. It's not how you manage people. It's not how you get the best from your organization. And it's not how you lead a team forward.

Then again, what else is new?

Get excited for what you're walking into, Ricky Rubio
Posted on: April 14, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 7:03 pm

The Kahn Saga: Wolves still chasing their tail

Posted by Royce Young

David Kahn held a press conference Wednesday. During that, he had a fun quote.

We're ahead of where we thought we'd be with the roster.

I can definitely see his point. The Wolves went an NBA worst 17-65 this season, still don't have Ricky Rubio, just signed Darko Milicic to a $20 million deal, don't have a roster with any cohesiveness and really don't appear to have an end game in this rebuilding project.

Yep, right where they want to be.

Kahn has found his way on to the hot seat so he's doing what any self-preserving person would do -- pass the buck. As Ken Berger wrote yesterday, Kahn refused to give coach Kurt Rambis any sort of vote of confidence and basically just stopped short of saying he was gone. Berger said, according to connected sources, that Rambis is pretty much a guarantee to be fired.

It's natural to blame Rambis, who hasn't been able to employ his run-and-gun version of the triangle offense in Minnesota. Under him, the Wolves are 32-132. That's a 2009-10 season of 15-67 and this season of 17-65. You can call it whatever you want -- rebuilding, restructing, whatever -- but the reality is, that's just terrible.

Those two years have also come with Kahn running the show after replacing GM Kevin McHale. Kahn inherited a 24-58 team and turned them into a 15-win disaster. Before that 15-win season, he drafted Ricky Rubio and then took another point guard another pick later. Rubio still has yet to play for the Wolves and might not ever. His other point guard, Jonny Flynn, has largely been a disappointment.

Kahn basically tried to dump the roster and unload his cruddy players with a mind to acquire talent and cap space, a la the Presti Plan that the Thunder used to build a winner. Two problems with that plan: 1) The Wolves didn't draft Kevin Durant and 2) David Kahn is not Sam Presti.

I don't think anyone could even dare to sum up the Kahn era better than the good people at Canis Hoopus did. One particular point they addressed was Kahn's statement that the roster was nearly complete. To quote Hoopus, "This is a horrifying thing to think about, let alone take seriously." Nothing quite says Kahn is out of touch with his own rebuilding project better than that. To see a roster that's chasing its tail, running the hamster wheel or whatever "stuck in place" analogy you want, and say it's right you want to be and even better than that, it's almost done, is borderline crazy talk.

There's good news though. I wrote about it a month ago. The Wolves DO have talent. They DO have some players to build around. Kevin Love is very good, Anthony Randolph is talented and Michael Beasley seems like a potential star scorer that's just a bit lost. Then there's the dream Ricky the Savior. But it doesn't feel like Kahn has any idea what to do with those players. It's kind of like someone dangles a talented but troubled player in front of him and he can't help but bite.

And how is he supposed to convince Love to hang around when it's going like this? Love's not stupid. He's not going to hear, "We're almost there!" and buy it. Kahn's press conference was the "Mission Accomplished" moment of his tenure in Minnesota. He's officially jumped his own shark.

Did you know: The Wolves last two seasons are the fourth-worst in NBA history. History! And somehow it's all right on track?

If this is the near finished product, I'm not sure that's really all that inspiring. Remember the whole "We're transparent!" thing the Wolves tried to pull back in October? They published a full-page ad saying honesty was the best policy. One part read, "
We now have more shooting, athleticism and depth at every position, which will make us a better team this season. So will we challenge for the NBA championship this year? Not likely. Ouch. This honesty thing is a bit painful. But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player." Come on down, Anthony Randolph!

I guess the Wolves were right. They had a little more at every position. As a result, they won two more games. From 15 to 17. Progress! One more snippet for fun:

"There’s been a lot of talk this off-season. The naysayers certainly have been vocal. And while we can understand a certain amount of skepticism, we know we’ve turned the corner. And we’re anxious to get after that first tipped ball so we can start to prove it. Enough talk. It’s time to play."

Gotta wonder if they're regretting trying to pull that whole honesty thing. When you stink, you stink. Kahn trying to tell fans and media in Minnesota that things are right on track sounds more like a pathetic attempt at positively spinning a disastrous season than being transparent and honest. Transparent and honest would've sounded more like, "Man, we've got a long way to go. I really thought we'd be better by now."

Kahn senses the bell tolling for him, so he's pulling out the stops and pointing at Rambis. I think Rambis is a good coach. Maybe the roster hasn't responded to him, but it's not his fault here. Reality is, this roster isn't ready to win even if John Wooden were coaching it.

But don't worry you guys, it's all part of the plan. 
Posted on: April 14, 2011 5:57 pm

Pistons, Wolves waiting on coaches, Raps on GM

Posted by Royce Young

The regular season is over, so you know what that means? Yes, the playoffs are coming, but it also means coaches are about to get fired. Two that definitely have their head at least near the chopping block are John Kuester (Pistons) and Kurt Rambis (Timberwolves). But it doesn't sound like anything is imminent, tweets Ken Berger.

"Sources say Minny (Rambis) and Detroit (Kuester) will wait before making decisions." Berger also says the Pistons have been "paralyzed" by ownership transfer. The Wolves are holding with owner Glen Taylor in New York for owner's meetings.

Berger noted yesterday that both Kuester and Rambis are likely to be fired, according to multiple sources. Berger wrote, "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."

Also mentioned in there is that Rick Adelman's future is up in the air in Houston. Which is pretty crazy but understandable as the Rockets try and transition both their roster and staff moving ahead. Adelman's contract is up after this season so it'll just come down to an evaluation by Daryl Morey and the front office.  

Berger also says the Raptors are "unchanged for now" on the status of general manager Bryan Colangelo. Colangelo's contract expires June 30, along with coach Jay Triano. The Raptors are in a serious rebuilding situation and Colangelo might not have the opportunity to work on it.
Posted on: March 26, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 3:46 pm

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

Posted by Royce Young

He's held the imaginations of basketball junkies captive the past three seasons. He's shown flashes of brilliance, moments of incredible skill and stretches of terrific basketball. He's been mismanaged, misunderstood and mistreated. He's been benched, traded and traded again.

And he's finally getting another opportunity. This time, it might be one that's helps him turn the corner and find the potential we all know he's capable of.

If you love basketball and aren't fascinated by Anthony Randolph, then you may want to re-think yourself. 

If you fired up NBA 2K11 and created a player from scratch, you'd probably wind up with something close to Randolph. Even down to the left hand. He's 6-9, long, absurdly athletic, skilled with the ball and can step out and shooter a good 18-foot jumper.

NBA general managers have seen the same thing. The Warriors drafted him 14th in 2008 out of LSU, but between Don Nelson's erratic rotations and benchings and the fact Randolph was a bit inconsistent in his own right, Golden State traded him to New York as part of the deal that took David Lee out west.

Finally, most thought, in Mike D'Antoni's system Randolph will flourish. He'll settle in behind Amar'e Stoudemire and flash his talents in transition. Except Randolph suffered the same fate. He only appeared in 17 games for New York playing at least 20 minutes only once.

David Kahn targeted Randolph in the three-team Carmelo Anthony deal and nabbed him at the price of Corey Brewer and taking on Eddy Curry's contract. And finally, Randolph was seeing some opportunities. He's been getting routine playing time off the bench, but it wasn't until Love went down with a groin injury a week ago that Randolph saw real opportunity.

And seize it, he has.

Replacing Love in the starting lineup Minnesota's last two games, Randolph put up a career-high 31 points with 11 rebounds against Dallas and then 24 and 15 against Oklahoma City's imposing front line. Wolves coach Kurt Rambis pretty much raved about Randolph's skillset.

"His versatility. You can see that he can handle the basketball. He can put the ball on the floor, create a shot. He can play in areas that make it very difficult for big people to guard him," he said. "With his length and his athleticsim offensively and his ability to handle the basketball and shoot outside, it makes him a very difficult cover for a lot of big guys in this league.

"We want him to be very active and assertive at the defensive end," Rambis continued. "We see him as someone that can play very good on-ball defense and hopefully come from the weakside and block shots and be very well-versed in pick-and-roll situations and possibly even switch on to smaller people."

It's not the first time Randolph has teased us though. With Golden State, he had multiple, random nights of 28 points, 13 rebounds. It just never all came together for him. But think about this: He's only 21. Sometimes things take time. Sometimes, a new opportunity and a change of scenery helps it start to come together.

Thing is, Randolph has looked comfortable, confident. He's appeared very sure of himself and how he fits in. Against the Thunder, Minnesota was running a large amount of their offense through Randolph. He was their option. And it felt good for him.

"I'm going to continue to keep doing what I've been doing," Randolph said. "Even when I wasn't playing, I'm going to continue working hard and go from there.

"I just want to win. Just go out there and play my game, what got me to the league. And I just want to try and win games."

The Wolves have been more competitive than you think they've been at times this year. Yes, they're just 17-56 which is awful, but they've dropped 18 games by six points or less. And seven of those by a single possession. They're a young team that just doesn't know how to win yet.

Randolph has become part of the yearly rebuilding effort around the Wolves. He's not an answer, but he certainly is something. Make fun of the Wolves and Kahn all you want, but let's be honest here -- they have talent. Between Love, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Jonny Flynn and Randolph, there's a core of young, albeit raw, talent there.

That's kind of become the problem though with the Wolves. It's become a collection of raw gifted players without much direction or plan. It almost seems like Kahn's building plan was grabbing players just like Randolph. But that's no good unless you know get a handle on how to use it all, or even better, develop it.

Kevin Durant came away impressed with the young Wolves Friday night. He said he thought Beasley was the type of player that could lead that young group to the playoffs. Maybe that's just Durant speaking highly of his old friend, but it's not that far-fetched.

Think about the Thunder three years ago. A young collection of talent that needed a direction. Granted, the gap between Sam Presti and Kahn is pretty much a Mariana Trench type of thing, but still. Maybe a better example is the Grizzlies who just needed a veteran that was ready to put it together like Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies were a ship without a rudder two years ago but it's all started to come together a bit with one piece. (And Chris Wallace isn't exactly the best and brightest GM out there either.)

I wouldn't assume that Kahn and the Wolves are counting on Randolph to be a savior or the missing piece (among many missing pieces I guess). But he is something you can build around. The guy has talent. Real talent. He's been held back over the years because inconsistency on his part, low basketball IQ and mismanagement of his talent. Now though, he might be getting it. Maybe. It is just two games. But two very good games.

Enough reason for a little optimism in Minnesota if you ask me. You can't dream of Rubio forever.
Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2011 2:04 pm

Wolves players stick up for Rambis

Timberwolves players speak up in support of Kurt Rambis as talks Heat up regarding his potential dismissal. 
Posted by Matt Moore

The blame for what's gone on in Minnesota is probably an equal four-way split between management, coaching, execution, and luck.  General Manager David Kahn put together a series of terrible draft and free agency decisions, then for some reason hired a coach to instill a system that was horribly suited to the bad selection of players he assembled. Drafted multiple point guards? Let's put them in the triangle which is difficult, complex, and limits point guards' ability to function. Kurt Rambis too often shows random decisions in terms of who gets time and how much (Kevin Love had difficulty getting on the floor this year, for crying out loud), and hasn't been able to get any consistency out of the young guys. The players too often break plays and don't play with any sense of awareness, and there was nothing anyone could do to convince Ricky Rubio to come over or to alter what spot the Wolves wound up with in the draft. 

But because Rambis is the coach and coaches most often bear the brunt of failure in the NBA, he's on the hot seat and there's a lot of talk about him not returning. But the players, to their credit, are not walking away from defending their coach in the face of scrutiny. 
"It's easy to say when you're having a tough year," Wolves forward Kevin Love said about the uncertainty of Rambis' future with the team. "It's not a direct reflection on him. It's all on us being a young, youthful team. It's unfair. As a player, I have Kurt's back."


"I know it's been tough on Kurt," said Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver, who claimed after Sunday's loss that "a lot of guys on this team don't bring it every night."

"He gets blamed for everything because he's the coach," Tolliver said. "He's doing what he's supposed to do. It's up to us out there on the floor to execute the game plan. As players, we have to take more accountability and responsibility for our actions."
via Timberwolves players rally around embattled coach Kurt Rambis - TwinCities.com.

Love's defense of Rambis (the best defense he's shown all year- wocka-wocka-wocka, I'll see myself out) is interesting given the clashes that Love has had with both Rambis and Kahn in their first two seasons due to limitations put on his playing time.  Love was heavily said to be on the block for nearly an entire season, before this year's All-Star campaign made that an impossibility. Now Love is the biggest star on the team. It speaks to Love's professionalism and attitude that he didn't simply pile on, or even duck the question. He came out in support of his coach, the way we often want players to. 

For Rambis, he may end up being the fall guy, despite it not really being his fault. In reality, Rambis should not have been brought in until the team was further along with its development. There are coaches you want to develop young teams into good teams, and coaches you want to take good teams into great teams. Rambis fits more of the mold of the latter, even if he hasn't shown that yet due to opportunity. If he's anything, he's a veteran's coach, not the guy you want bringing the pups up. The result is the current situation. As an organization, you have to put your personnel in a position to be successful. The Wolves have not done so with their players, their system, or their coaches. 

Posted on: March 14, 2011 9:02 am
Edited on: March 14, 2011 9:18 am

Wolves' Kahn denies Rambis is set to be fired

Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn denies coach Kurt Rambis is set to be fired after the season. Posted by Ben Golliver. kurt-rambis

Last Friday, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reported that trouble could be brewing for Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis, as Minnesota struggles aimlessly through another lost season. 
Of far greater certainty is the status of coach Kurt Rambis, who appears to be on his way out after only two seasons. Though management won't make a final decision until the season is over, sources say there is significant push from within to make a coaching change. Atop the Timberwolves' list of potential successors is Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, one of the people with knowledge of the organization's thinking said. With a young roster clearly lacking in veteran leadership, some members of the Minnesota brain trust believe the team needs a more vocal, energetic coach on the sideline. Rambis is cut from the Phil Jackson cloth of letting his players police themselves, and also has been at odds with Love for long stretches. A coaching change is something Love would not oppose, sources say. Of course, perhaps Rambis would've been more vocal or energetic if he wasn't saddled with among the youngest teams and lowest payrolls in the NBA. 
Over the weekend, Timberwolves president David Kahn denied the report in a brief statement to the Pioneer Press.
"The notion of Kelvin Sampson is completely false," Kahn said, relaying his comments through Wolves media relations director Mike Cristaldi. "That report is not true in all aspects."
As for Rambis, he sounded pretty annoyed.
"I don't comment on things I haven't read, and I never comment on things that cowards say," Rambis said before heading to the team's charter flight to Oakland. "If somebody wants to say something and attach their name to it, that's another matter. Rumors are out there all the time. Anybody can start a rumor, but if they don't attach their name to it, they're a coward."
"I only deal with things I can control," he said. "I do the best job I can every day. I don't worry about rumors and stuff like that. I didn't worry about those kind of things as a player when trade rumors came up, and I don't worry about them now."
The Star Tribune reported that both Kevin Love and Michael Beasley vouched for their coach.
"I worked with him the whole summer and built a great relationship with him," Love said. "No, [any report of friction between the two] is completely false. ... Last year we had our differences. This year there has been nothing like that. For me to say he's not good here would be blasphemy, because this is really only his first season as coach [where] he finally got the players around him that he wanted. I can't be mad. I'm shining under his system. Why would I have a problem with him?"
"I love Kurt," forward Michael Beasley said. "I mean, Kurt, for us, is a great coach. Everybody knew this season was going to be a learning experience. I don't think you can hold [the losing] against him. I have no problem with Kurt. I don't want to change coaches."
Rumors and anonymous sources are the least of Rambis's worries, as the Timberwolves are second to last in the Western Conference, with a record of 17-51, and have so many flaws I don't know where to begin. The Timberwolves are undisciplined (sporting the highest turnover rate in the league), they don't play defense (ranking No. 26 out of 30 in overall efficiency) and they're not particularly potent on offense either, despite the consistent contributions of double-double machine Kevin Love. Many analysts blame Rambis's system for those struggles. 

On top of that, I hate to continue to be the guy to break it to Minnesota: Ricky Rubio is not walking through that door. Sorry, he's just not. Especially not next year, given how Minnesota's season played out this year and the impending labor strife.

Add together the on-court struggles, the revolving door roster and questionable (at best) drafting, and both the coaching staff and management should rightfully be on the hot seat right now. Minnesota has reached the "Could it really be any worse if we totally cleaned house?" stage and that usually results in someone being shown the door, if only to temporarily relieve some of ownership's frustration.

Staying the course just doesn't make sense, not in an environment like this where the boat is spinning madly in circles and taking on water. The only question is how many life rafts will be needed.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com