Tag:David Kahn
Posted on: July 19, 2011 8:51 am
Edited on: July 19, 2011 9:31 am
 

Timberwolves interview Mike Woodson



By Matt Moore


David Kahn told reporters at the press conference after Kurt Rambis was fired that he was looking for a  coach with "uptempo DNA." That's all the rage in Minnesota. Kahn is aware he can't force the team or its fans to endure another rebuilding stretch to demolish the current rebuilding scheme and survive with his job intact, so he's doing what you do when you have a fast team you can't do anything with: Try and go faster. 

But based off the first couple of candidates Kahn has interviewed outside of Don Nelson (which is all sorts of crazy), the phrase "I do not think that word means what you think it means" comes to mind.

We brought you word Monday that the Wolves were interviewing former Blazer player and former Suns coach Terry Porter. Porter's teams have always erred on the fast side, but much of that is likely due to the makeup of the personnel he was walking into. He hasn't "built" a fast team, he's just coached them. And not very well, at that. He tried to slow down the Suns, which, if you're going to slow them down, you have to go all the way and reshape the entire tempo of the team, not go halfway (and ditch Steve Nash, but that's another conversation). Porter does have experience as an assistant in Minnesota, but that still seems like an odd fit. 

Then there's news Tuesday of the Wolves interviewing Mike Woodson. As for Woodson's fast-break pedigree? Well, let's let SBNation.com point the way:
In announcing the firing of Rambis, Kahn said he'd be looking for a coach more committed to the fast break. Like Porter, Woodson is puzzling in that context. The Hawks finished No. 27 in the NBA in pace factor in Woodson's final season in Atlanta, and over his tenure averaged a finish of No. 20.
via Mike Woodson To Interview For Timberwolves' Head Coach Job - SBNation.com.

Woodson's a good overall coach, and the work he did with the Hawks was underrated (just look at the job Larry Drew did in his first year for reference, despite the team's record and second-round appearance). But he's a poor fit for the Timberwolves, especially within the context of bringing that "uptempo DNA." He has more of a "slow it down and most likely have the ball wind up in an ISO situation DNA" kind of guy (though the ball movement on the Hawks in his term was better than it was with Drew this season). 

It seems like we're piling on here just to pile on Kahn, and maybe that's the case. After all it doesn't make sense to criticize the Wolves for wanting a fast team, then criticize them for bringing in slower coaches. It just doesn't speak well to have a flawed plan to begin with, or rather to say you have a plan that's obviously flawed, and then to take steps which act in total denial of that plan.

But then, them's the breaks, and at this point, the only happy ending for this Wolves team (with Kahn) is for things to just randomly work out, which has happened from time to time. But let it be noted that from this vantage point at this moment in time, the sausage factory looks awfully weird.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:55 pm
 

Terry Porter interviews for Timberwolves position

Posted by Royce Young

Let's be realistic: Don Nelson probably isn't going to be taking the Timberwolves job. Yes, I realize that David Kahn doesn't operate under the law of what's "realistic," but still, pulling the 71-year-old out of retirement (and off a beach in Hawaii) won't be easy. Besides, even though the Wolves would immediately become a cult favorite, it's probably not a great fit.

Which means the Wolves aren't just starting and stopping with Nelson. Other names have popped up -- like Bernie Bickerstaff, Rick Adelman and even Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar. One more name to add to the list: Former Suns head coach Terry Porter. Via the Star Tribune:

Former Timberwolves player and former Milwaukee and Portland head coach Terry Porter today is the first candidate to formally interview for the team’s head-coaching job, according to league sources.

(Wolves GM) David Kahn has made background research calls and talked by phone to at least one other candidate -- Don Nelson -- but Porter is the first to come to town to interview with Kahn and likely owner Glen Taylor.

Notice that Porter is actually the first official interview for the Wolves. Nelson spoke with Kahn, but that was just informal talk, likely for feeling out to gauge mutual interest.

With Porter, he was Mike D'Antoni's replacement in Phoenix and attempted to change the culture of the team, slowing down the pace and focusing on defense. It didn't work, and he was fired halfway through the season and replaced by Alvin Gentry, who restored the run and gun to the Suns. Porter also coached two seasons in Milwaukee but didn't experience a ton of success there, either.

Kahn has made it very clear he's looking for a coach who wants to run, and Porter obviously isn't opposed to that. While he slowed the Suns down some, it's not like he turned them into the walk-it-up Blazers or anything. They still played fast, just not as fast. With a roster like the Wolves, Porter might be a solid fit mentoring young Ricky Rubio.

There's a lot of buzz around Nelson, but Porter is the only official interview as of now. Doesn't mean he's the top candidate or the favorite, but it does mean that he's at least in the running.

Posted on: July 16, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:42 pm
 

Kahn and Nelson have talked about Wolves position

Posted by Royce Young

Oh boy, it might really be happening. Don Nelson might really, truly, actually be a candidate for the Minnesota Timberwolves coaching position. Last week when word broke that Nelson was interested in the Minnesota roster, it just seemed like something a retired coach might say, but without much actual chance of happening.

But according to the Star Tribune, Nelson has spoken with general manager David Kahn about the position and is still very interested. That's saying something about his level of interest right there.

"I think it'd be a great fit," Nelson said. "I love Minnesota.

"Really, throughout my career, what I've done is taken teams with bad records and with every situation I've made them better. I like to be around young players. I've had great success with bad teams, getting them on the right track, getting them to max out. I have a great history there."

Nelson, of course, is the NBA's all-time winningest coach and recently retired/was forced to retire after a bumpy stint in Golden State. He's 71, so he's not necessarily a long-term solution. But in terms of trying to turn around a young roster, he indeed might be a decent fit. At the very least, he's an incredibly intriguing one.

Putting Nelson's up-and-down style with Ricky Rubio running point, Kevin Love throwing outlets and Derrick Williams running the floor is nothing short of fascinating for any NBA junkie.

Would that translate to wins?

Hard to say. But a Minnesota franchise commandeered by Kahn and Nelson would be some incredible fodder. Kahn wants the team to run, and you know that's what Nelson will do.

One guy, though, that's probably not excited about this idea is Anthony Randolph. I bet he thought he was finally free of Nelson. Not for long, maybe.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 1:40 pm
 

NBA warns Michael Jordan not to golf with players

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan would reportedly face a $1 million fine for golfing with NBA players. Posted by Ben Golliver.

michael-jordan-golf

Losing seven figures on a golf course. Just another weekend for NBA legend and notorious gambler Michael Jordan, right? 

Not quite. This million dollar hit comes with a twist: the NBA would be pocketing the cash.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, is scheduled to play in the American Century Classic celebrity golf tournament. The only problem? So are a handful of NBA players, and the league has made it clear that team executives are not to have any contact with players during the ongoing lockout unless they're willing to stomach a $1 million fine. 
Jordan, who became the first former player to own an NBA team when he purchased the Charlotte Bobcats outright last year, faces a fine of $1 million if he plays a round of golf at the ACC with a current NBA player.

Jordan called the NBA on Tuesday to check in, and the NBA confirmed he would be fined if he played with a current NBA player.
The tournament's website notes that Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen, Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette, Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd and New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams are all scheduled to participate.

Again, the rule comes off a bit silly and petty, but it's the rule. A round of golf would represent hours of contact and there is sure to be plenty of media in attendance. Two guys yucking it up as they putt out doesn't quite jive with the league's public blackout policy towards its player institute on July 1. 

This warning to Jordan is the latest in a string of potentially fineable situations involving team employees and current players.

Earlier this week, we noted a report that Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan was warned for comments made about Las Vegas Summer League. Also this week, Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn called a press conference to fire coach Kurt Rambis and mentioned multiple players during the question-and-answer session with media members. And, on Wednesday night, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban attended the ESPYs with his team, although the league clarified that the contact had been pre-approved on the condition that no league business or CBA discussion would take place.

Since the lockout began on July 1, the NBA has yet to publicly issue a fine to a team executive who violates its gag order policy. 

Hat tip: Ball Don't Lie
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 7:31 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Report: Don Nelson a potential Wolves candidate

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA's all-time winningest coach might be making a return. But only because he's so intrigued by the Minnesota Timberwolves. I know. What?

According to ESPN.com, Don Nelson, most recently of the Warriors and likely a beach in Hawaii, is open to a return to coaching specifically with the Wolves because of the roster.

I can tell you this: I'm intrigued at the thought of Don Nelson coaching the Timberwolves. The reckless, up-and-down offense coupled with zero defense, featuring Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Wesley Johnson and Derrick Williams? Um, yes please.

David Kahn has said repeatedly that he wants the Wolves to play an up tempo style game and the team would be built on an exciting brand of basketball. That never really happened because, for one, Jonny Flynn was the point guard and, two, because newly fired coach Kurt Rambis tried to install the triangle offense while also pleasing the front office with some running.

Obviously, it never worked.

Nelson, though, is 71 and his last few seasons with the Warriors didn't go well. He was stubborn with rotations, erratic with decisions and almost appeared apathetic on the bench as Golden State slogged through mediocrity, save for one shining playoff year.

Nelson's son, Donnie, hinted back in October that his dad might not be entirely done coaching. "Never say never,'' Donnie said. "I thought when he was the godfather (in Dallas after handing the coaching reins to Avery Johnson in March 2005), I thought that was the perfect existence. But he wanted to coach again. With him, you just never know.''

Would a Don Nelson era with the Wolves be successful? I doubt it. But would it be a lot of fun and so very, very David Kahn? Absolutely.

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