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Tag:David Kahn
Posted on: June 22, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 5:29 am
 

Five GMs who face big dilemmas on draft night

Posted by Matt Moore

It's passed over because we're so far removed from it and because that's not how the machine works, but stop for a second and consider what it's like to be a general manager who actually has control, whose owner trusts him. It's draft night. The future of your franchise rests with you. A pick gone wrong and that can mean a pink slip. Questions from the media, from the fans. You've got to somehow not only see what these kids, and they are kids, have done, but what they will do. And that's not just on the floor, it's in the locker room and outside the halls of the arena.

You've got to look into a kid's soul and see what he's made of, out of basically a handful of workouts, some measurements, and maybe a psych profile, if he consents. And it's not a simple "yes or no," you have to choose someone. You've got hundreds of options, a dozen or so serious options, and you've got to hit the right one. Miss, and it's a black mark on your career that may follow you forever. And no matter how many people you bring in, no matter how much consultation is done in advance, at the end of the night, when it's time to make the call, it's got to be your say. You have to make the decision.

And we think shooting free throws is tough.

With that in mind, here are the top five GMs/front offices facing the toughest decisions of the draft.

1. David Kahn, GM, Minnesota Timberwolves: He can't miss every time, right? After drafting Jonny Flynn to go with Ricky Rubio, who didn't come over, essentially going 0-2 on viable point guard options until this season, then following it up by passing on DeMarcus Cousins and others to reach for Wes Johnson, the Wolves could really use a home run. So naturally Kahn is trying to trade this pick like there's no tomorrow. They've reached out to everyone, and so far no one is biting. So if they keep the pick, the Wolves have to decide whether to take the best talent available, Derrick Williams, even though he creates a logjam at small forward/combo forward position for them, or roll the dice on Enes Kanter. You know, because what they don't have is enough Euro centers with upside.

Kahn's in a bad spot, having to try and hit a home run to save his job by bringing in a veteran star. He announced at the end of last season that "rebuilding is over" for the Wolves, which is pretty insane for a 17-win team. He can't wait to see if Williams will be an impact guy, he needs one now. If he does have to take the pick, Williams is the best overall talent, but that doesn't jive with what he did throughout the past calendar year, bringing in Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. It's a significant problem and not one you should envy. Even if the Cavs were to suddenly pass on Kyrie Irving for Williams, the Wolves still couldn't take Irving because of Rubio.

In the end, the Euro teen center who hasn't played in two years is the safe option. That's how tricky the Wolves' position is.

2011 NBA Draft
2. Bryan Colangelo, GM, Toronto Raptors: There's talk that Bryan Colangelo is under pressure, even after his contract extension, from above to stay away from a Euro. This is the kind of thing that happens when you draft Andrea Bargnani and then give him a bajillion dollars in extension. In doing so he's managed to create a problem because the best talent and fit at the No.5 spot is likely to be a Euro.

The Raptors need rebounding and size, and Jonas Valanciunas provides both. Sure, the big man is not coming over till 2012, but the Raptors also aren't going anwywhere until then. Another year of letting DeMar DeRozan, Jerryd Bayless, and Amir Johnson lead the team while trying to find somewhere to ditch Bargnani to isn't a bad option. Then when Valanciunas comes over, they'll have another high pick, and worst case scenario the ability to put Bargnani next to Valanciunas with Amir Johnson at the three for defensive coverage of Bargnani's limitations in space.

If not "Choonus" (as no one besides me is calling him), Jan Vesely is a great fit here. An explosive combo forward who won't need the ball and whose limitations in ball handling will be managed by low usage, Vesely brings size, athleticism and aggressiveness. A DeRozan-Vesely-Johnson 2-3-4 combo is just plain nasty.

But Colangelo may not be able to take either of those and may instead have to reach for... Kemba Walker. If the Utah Jazz aren't too spooked by Brandon Knight's attitude, Walker will be the best known-American talent in the draft at that point, and finding a replacement for Jose Calderon will be seen as a smart pick. No one will criticize them for taking Walker, despite Walker not being the type of defender Dwane Casey's going to want to work with and the fact that he's honestly a reach here. Not much of one, but a reach.

So does Colangelo take the Best Player Available or the Most Popular Available? That's the kind of thing impacted by your previous decisions which come back to haunt you.

3. Geoff Petrie, President of Basketball Operations, Sacramento Kings: This should be easy. There's a good chance either Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker falls this far, despite the above scenario. They take that guy, they're good. But for whatever reason, the Kings are still trying to figure out what to do with their backcourt.

Alec Burks has become the hot name to take but he's not a point guard in any way shape or form. He becomes redundant next to Marcus Thornton, even if Tyreke Evans stays at point guard. Jimmer Fredette is too much of a reach.

Kawhi Leonard is the safest pick possible, filling a need at small forward, a polished player who can defend, and leaving the backcourt questions out of the equation. But he may go higher. The Kings are in a danger zone that guarantees their options will be limited, but the decison tree is complicated by the wishes of the Maloofs. Fredette brings ticket sales, that's for sure, but he's going to be an awkward fit with both Evans and Thornton needing shots. What's going to win out, making money or the right decision? Let's just say we don't have high hopes for the voices of reason.

4. John Hammond, GM, Milwaukee Bucks: Hammond's got a lot of holes to fill and is just outside the ability to fill them in the draft. Meanwhile, he's trying to move down. Move down and not make an improvement, the team could slide even further backwards. Make the wrong pick and he's wasted all that opportunity. Power forwards are abundant at the No. 10 spot for Milwaukee, but Hammond's got Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jon Brockman,and Ersan Ilyasova (who he's reportedly trying desperately to trade). So that's not really viable. He sunk a huge portion of cash into John Salmons which didn't work out, so while drafting a shooting guard sounds like the right move, it comes with usage concerns.

Popular players like Fredette are there, but with Jennings it may only exacerbate a tense situation. And the other option is a fleet of talented but wholly incomplete combo forwards without a decent lock among them. All are long-term prospects, none are sure things. And that's relative to the entire draft process which is a crapshoot.

The Bucks have been active in trade rumors but are trying to find an identity. They seemed like they'd stocked their team with athletic, relatively young players and yet don't seem to have the right combination. The 10th pick doesn't provide them many answers and may leave them eying simply a chance to move out of the spotlight.

5. Daryl Morey, GM, Houston Rockets: No team with a real chance of competing needed a lottery win like the Rockets. With Yao Ming a huge seven-foot question mark and failed attempt after failed attempt at securing a star, they need a big name to put next to the versatile complimentary talent they have. But instead here they are with two picks that help them almost not at all.

Their options are a series of athletic threes and undersized fours (the Morris twins, Jordan Hamilton, maybe Tristan Thompson), when they already have Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger, and Jordan Hill to go with Chuck Hayes. Their only real need is at five, and Valanciunas is almost guaranteed to be off the board. With Motiejunas more of a stretch four than a real five considering his defense and effort problems, there's simply not a fit here. Marcus Morris is the most surefire player available here, and he comes with huge question marks and a limited upside.

Morey is charged with somehow turning these elements into a contender, despite the best "star" on the market being Andre Iguodala, which would be like adding a Swiss army knife when you need a broadsword. His second pick in the first round leaves him only with the exciting possibility of drafting a Euro center who won't be available for several years, or a player like Jeremy Tyler who would likely spend at least a year with the Rockets' D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Morey's been considered a genius and a math wizard for years in this league. With the team stangnated and no help available in free agency or trade, the draft looks like his last chance to pull a rabbit out of a hat. And right now, the hat looks awful empty.


Posted on: June 20, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Ricky Rubio lands at Minnesota airport video

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio lands in Minnesota and is welcomed at the airport in this video. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Finally, the moment that all of the 368 fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves have been waiting two years for: Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio officially landed at the airport in the Twin Cities on Monday.

Courtesy of YouTube user 1500ESPNTwinCities, here's video of Rubio's much anticipated arrival

Dressed in a dark jacket, white shirt and Timberwolves hat, Rubio is escorted through the crowd by Timberwolves president David Kahn, the man who drafted him with the No. 5 selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. Rubio pauses to sign autographs for some waiting fans and is generally mobbed by the Timberwolves dancers, an excited crowd with cell phone cameras and an assemblage of local media.

One fan is shown holding a "Welcome to Minnesota" sign.  At the end of the video, fans engage in a "Ricky! Ricky! Ricky!" chant as he exits the airport for a waiting bus. The description of the video says "about 200" fans showed up.



Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Your 'Insane Timberwolves Rumor' roundup

Posted by Matt Moore

Only with the Timberwolves would a No.2 overall pick be considered a burden. But that's the case as just as soon as the Wolves found their spot in the lottery, rumors of them trying to trade it sprang to life. And as Thursday's draft inches ever closer, they've gotten out of control. They're multiplying like Gremlins. Seriously, if you see one, don't feed it after midnight. Here's what we've got. These are rumors and should be viewed with skepticism, but they pass the "okay, that's not so absurd it's laughable"/"that can't possibly work under the current CBA" test. 


Pau Gasol for Kevin Love and the No.2.  Yeah, that's what you call a blockbuster deal. It sounds insane, until you think about it. The Wolves do want an established star. Gasol is buds with Rubio out of Spain. The Lakers have been frustrated with Gasol and Love would rebound and hit threes while not challenging Bryant. Then you think about it some more and it's still completely insane. Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld floated some substantiation of the idea touched on by ESPN in a chat session about Gasol being on the Wolves' radar. Respected cap analyst Larry Coon tweeted over the weekend that there "may be some fire" there. Coon also said Love and the No.2 is too much, and that Love has not been put on the table. The big thing here is that moving Gasol means risking the championship window which is assuredly still open as long as Gasol is still within range of his prime, which he is, though the distance is increasing. Plus Love's poor defense could be a big issue under Mike Brown. But there's a decent around of smoke around this one, even if the flames seem plastic.

Here's a fun one. The ESPN radio affiliate out of Minneapolis reported over the weekend that conversations had taken place between the Wolves and Bucks, sending the No.2 pick for Andrew Bogut and the No.10 pick. Darren Wolfson of local television confirmed the report and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune says it's possible, but Milwaukee isn't biting. If Milwaukee were chasing the deal, it would mean that something was seriously wrong with Bogut's wrist, which would probably kill the trade in a physical anyway. And with Darko Milicic on the books for four more years, the deal only gets more confusing.

Weirdly, the one established player who the Wolves could use who is on the block, and the one team that could use the No.2 as a building block in starting over is Monta Ellis and the Golden State Warriors. But while it makes a lot of sense, there's no one biting, so far. 

Thankfully a rumor that had Washington offering up JaVale McGee was shot down by the Washington Post. Trying to imagine McGee in the Minnesota winter trying to clown around with Ricky Rubio while Kevin Love cries at his locker was a little much to take in as a mental image. 

Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:51 pm
 

NBA Draft 2011: 3 GMs in the pressure cooker

Three GMs have more riding on the 2011 NBA Draft than the others. Posted by Ben Golliver.

kahn-morey-petrie

In all the NBA Draft over-analysis, mock drafting and trade rumors, it’s easy to lose track of a big picture, fundamental truth about this time of year: Thursday night means vastly different things to different teams.

For the league’s poorest sisters, it represents hope; for the middle of the road teams, it’s a bit of a crapshoot; for true contenders, it can become almost an afterthought. For rebuilding teams, it’s the center of years of planning; for veteran teams, it can be almost irrelevant. For small market teams, the draft is the best – if not only -- chance they’ll get to land a superstar; for the successful larger markets, it can be just another day on the calendar.

The 2011 NBA Draft carries added importance for three franchises. Whether because of poor on-court performance,  endless stagnation, financial implications or potential relocation, the stakes are highest for three teams and their executives. With so much riding on the draft this year, a swing and a miss could prove fatal for these three chief basketball decision-makers. 

Minnesota Timberwolves – David Kahn

Recent First Round Draft Record: Wesley Johnson (2010), Ricky Rubio (2009), Jonny Flynn (2009), Wayne Ellington (2009).

Let’s start with the Minnesota Timberwolves because articles about GMs potentially getting fired always start with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

President David Kahn has been the laughingstock of the NBA for a few years now, but he recently got in a few chuckles of his own when Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio finally decided to take his talentos to the Great White North. Rubio’s presence addresses Minnesota’s two biggest problems. They lacked a franchise-type point guard and desperately needed a hype factor to get fans in the seats following two seasons that produced a combined 32 wins.

There is a catch: Rubio might not actually be that good and it’s an open question whether Minnesota has the support system and personnel around him to ensure that he succeeds in the short-term.

The Timberwolves hold the No. 2 pick and have question marks up and down the roster. They’ll need to turn that pick and other fringe assets into multiple rotation players to ensure a smooth transition for Rubio and to keep Kevin Love from grumbling about his lot in life again.

Kahn has essentially staked his job on Rubio’s success as a pro. If the Timberwolves aren’t able to make significant forward progress in the 2011-2012 season, it’s difficult to envision their way too patient owner Glen Taylor letting Kahn have another go-round.

Houston Rockets – Daryl Morey

Recent First Round Draft Record: Patrick Patterson (2010), Joey Dorsey (2008), Aaron Brooks (2007).

We’ve reached the point where the theoretical idea of Daryl Morey is far better than the actual Daryl Morey. The Rockets’ famed “Moneyball” style architect has gone years without drafting an impact player in the first round. Try as he might via the trade route, he hasn’t been able to locate a core building block to replace chronically injured center Yao Ming, so the franchise has spun its wheels, missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. The Rockets admitted to themselves that a rebuild was in order this summer, an idea that former coach Rick Adelman apparently didn’t take kindly to. Enter new coach Kevin McHale.

Focusing relentlessly on market inefficiencies can sometimes cloud the bigger picture. Star types win in the NBA, and the Rockets don’t have any. Kevin Martin and Luis Scola both exist one tier below where they need to be to truly build around long-term. The issues facing Houston next season, then, are two-fold: No one is going to get that roster to play harder and produce more than Adelman did, and the No. 14 spot on Thursday will not yield a franchise difference-maker.

To give the franchise some direction, Morey will need to get creative by packaging assets to get a true top end talent. There’s no better time to do that than draft week. Another NBA Draft week with a zero on the board, you would think, would force Rockets owner Les Alexander to change his thinking from “What have you done for me lately?” to “no, really, what have you actually done?”

Sacramento Kings – Geoff Petrie

Recent First Round Draft Record: DeMarcus Cousins (2010), Tyreke Evans (2009), Omri Casspi (2009), Jason Thompson (2008), Spencer Hawes (2007), Quincy Douby (2006).

The Maloof Family is a mess. The Kings’ ownership group is bleeding money, selling off assets, skimping on payroll and hinting that they will try to leave Sacramento again after next season. The NBA had to step in this summer to help conduct the team’s basic business affairs. Sad stuff.

Kings president Geoff Petrie, despite solid picks in each of the last two drafts, has found himself in chopping block rumors for most of the last year. That’s what happens when your team misses the playoffs – and misses out on playoff revenue – for five straight seasons, winning just 66 combined in the last three years.

Sacramento is picking at No. 7 this year but has an ultimate trump card in the form of tons and tons of available cap space to facilitate trades. Of any team with just one first round pick, the Kings have the most flexibility and widest variety of options this week. With Evans and Cousins in place as core blocks, the mandate is clear: put pieces around them that will turn this into a fringe playoff contender.  

Petrie isn’t simply drafting to keep his job. His decisions this week could ultimately impact whether the Kings win enough next season to keep the team in Sacramento. Given the shaky state of the Maloof family, the implications of the moves made this week could even extend to the ownership level. How many years of also-ran existence can the Maloof Family sustain before the coffers dry up? The Maloofs have steadfastly denied that they would ever sell the team but there could come a time when they don’t have a choice.

You want to talk about pressure? That’s pressure. 

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?
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 6, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Beasley on the block if Wolves take Williams?

Posted by Royce Young

The Wolves have been shopping the No. 2 overall pick the past few weeks. But it's looking like no one is willing to trade a good veteran player for it so the Wolves will just do what we all expected: draft another talented player who doesn't really have a place on the roster.

Except this time, there's more to it.

According to Draft Express, if the Wolves hang on to No. 2, they'll take Derrick Williams but instead of having him in a logjam with Michael Beasley and Kevin Love, Minnesota will immediately put Michael Beasley on the trading block.
It’s likely that Williams will be the one taken since he is the consensus second-best talent in this draft, according to NBA decision makers. If Minnesota keeps the pick and indeed selects Williams, sources say the Timberwolves will look to move Michael Beasley as they try to improve the “culture of the team.”
Well that's a nice little twist. And one that actually makes a lot of sense.

See, that's been the problem with the David Kahn plan. He keeps adding talented young players but without any sort of plan or cohesion for the roster. It's just one guy after the other stacked on top of each other. People wonder why Sam Presti has been able to succeed with drafting youngsters and developing them. Why have the Thunder's players progressed while Minnesota's really haven't? A big reason is because they've got to be put into a position where they can learn through experience and develop in a role they're comfortable in.

Finally, with Williams, it sounds like that might be the case. Instead of planting him in an awkward role behind Beasley who will eat possessions and shots, Williams could actually maybe make small forward his spot in Minnesota.

I can't just say, "Good job Kahn!" and move on for two reasons though: 1) This hasn't actually happened and with Kahn, I'm like Kevin Love: I'll believe it when I see it and 2) because remember how Kahn said in an interview after the season that the building of his roster was complete? That was an idiotic thing to say then and this type of thing just makes it even more so.

Losing Beasley wouldn't be a big deal because the Wolves didn't give up much to Miami to get him (a second-round pick). And while Beasley showed flashes last season, is he really a building block? This would be smart for Minnesota, but that's what also makes me skeptical about it's reality.
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
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com