Tag:David Kahn
Posted on: June 2, 2011 12:31 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 6:52 am

Love on Rubio: 'I'll believe it when I see it'

Posted by Royce Young

There's no doubt that the drafting of Ricky Rubio and his unwillingness to come play for the Timberwolves has been quite the sore spot for general manager David Kahn. It's been embarrassing.

But with word that Rubio will sign with the Wolves and play in the NBA next season -- if there is a season -- there's reason to be excited. The long nightmare is over and finally the Spanish floppy-haired savior is coming. You're psyched, right Kevin Love?

Love's next two tweets said, "Just thinking about pick and rolls... goodnight" and then "Pick...N...Rolls." That sort of suggests Love wasn't entirely serious with his original tweet. Still though, with as sensitive as that situation has been and as embarrassing as it's been for the organization, that's a pretty wild thing for the face of the franchise to say.

"I'll believe it when I see it" is pretty much what everyone is saying because of the way the Rubio situation has been handled, but it reeks of a lack of faith in management to actually get it done. Almost like Love is saying, "Yeah right, like this front office finally got this done." Not exactly a ringing endorsement. But again, let me say: He could just be making a silly. Hard to really decipher in a tweet.

Which means we might be reading into this too much but still, Love's reaction isn't saying, "Woo! Rubio! Championship!" Maybe he's not nearly as excited about the supposed Euro "phenom" as some are. I guess it has been two years. That new car smell has pretty much worn off. The hype machine has died down.

I'm sort of like Love. When I see Rubio actually in a Minnesota Timberwolves uniform, then I'll believe this is true. That should tell you the kind of mess this has been.

Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:59 pm

Wolves still looking to move down, snag Kanter?

Posted by Royce Young

There has already been some talk about the Minnesota Timberwolves moving down in the draft. The reasoning is solid. What's available at No. 2 might not help them much and they're likely looking for some veteran help to bring along their young guys.

However, SI.com reports
that the Wolves are thinking of moving down a spot or two to try and get Enes Kanter, while also acquiring a few additional assets.

Kanter has become quite the intriguing prospect, as he's become The Great Unknown Big Man that catches the attention and imagination of general managers. He's big, talented, skilled and has a bunch of upside to be fulfilled. It's hard to know if he'd be available at three or four as he's been mocked to go as high as No. 2 in some places.

My issue here is, how exactly does he benefit the Wolves, other than just being another big body to develop? I suppose they could pick up a second-round pick and maybe a veteran role player moving the No. 2 pick for the No. 4 or 5, but it's not going to be that substantial. And especially for a guy that doesn't completely have a spot on your existing roster.

But this would be SUCH a David Kahn move. Making a deal for the sake of making it and then drafting a guy that doesn't at all fill a need for you. The thought of the Wolves moving down to 10 or so and picking up actual veteran help made sense. So naturally, they're not going to do it.

Kahn just signed his "manna from heaven," Darko Milicic for four years. He's hopefully going to lock up Kevin Love with an extension. Kanter could potentially slide in and play with Love in the front court in the future, but what Kahn would be creating is another positional logjam. Which doesn't make any sense to me.

Which means it makes a ton of sense to David Kahn.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:19 pm

Wolves open to trading No. 2?

Posted by Royce Young

When he's not making fairly dumb comments, Timberwolves general manager David Kahn has always been one up for a trade. He's always willing to take a risk and move some parts.

In the lottery last night, with the best chance of any team, the Wolves finished with the second overall pick in a draft most feel like is a one player draft. There's talent to be had no doubt -- Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Bismack Biyombo -- but there's not necessarily a sure thing.

And according to ESPN.com, the Wolves are wide open to moving the No. 2 overall pick. The word is, Kahn is very much interested in adding veteran help to the team.

Is this a good idea? Well, I guess. Hard to say really. With the history the Wolves have in the draft of missing on players, taking guys that don't want to be with the team and just outright mis-evaluating, it makes sense to just get out and get a proven commodity. However, it's unlikely you'll get equal talent back. Potential talent, I should say.

There's good reason to believe that Williams, Biyombo, Walker, Kanter or whoever could be the next big thing. They could be the next 10-time All-Star. You've got to do your homework, scout the heck out of them and go with your gut. Thus far, Kahn's has been mostly wrong. (Though Wes Johnson might not be a total disaster.)

In a backwards way, Kahn has a point because there's not a whole lot of open roster space on his team right now. That's silly, I realize, for a team that just went 17-65, but with the way he's accumulated talent, if you draft a young player, where does he play? Ironically, the most open place on the roster might actually be point guard. How about that one?

Right now, between Johnson, Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph, Kevin Love and, well, Darko Milicic the Wolves don't have a ton of space to just pop in another young player that needs time to develop. Minnesota has plenty of those. The wrong ones most likely, but still, not a ton of space for playing time.

Depending on what's available, the Wolves could certainly use some veteran help to take a little pressure off their young players. Development is what all of this is about and I'm not sure how well the Wolves are developing young players like Jonny Flynn, Johnson and Randolph. Bringing in a veteran player that's actually talented enough to play might not be a bad idea.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 12:49 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:46 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn apparently insinuates that the NBA Draft Lottery is rigged. Posted by Ben Golliver. david-kahn

Update: Here's video of Kahn's comments.

For years -- no, decades -- basketball observers have had suspicions about the NBA Draft Lottery. The process is hidden, ping pong balls are involved, and there are a bunch of hurt feelings because 13 of the teams present go home without the No. 1 pick.

Speculation about the lottery being rigged has always been a favorite custom of fans, but it's not something you ever hear spoken about, or even implied, by NBA executives. Until now.

Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn apparently implied in an interview with the Associated Press that the NBA's lottery process is not totally on the up and up.

Kahn's comments came after he joined Utah Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor and Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, as the three finalists for the No. 1 pick. Nick Gibert suffers from a nerve disorder and eventually secured the No. 1 pick for the Cavaliers. 
"This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines," Kahn said. "Last year it was Abe Pollin's widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: 'We're toast.' This is not happening for us and I was right."
A "habit" of producing incredible storylines implies that it's not intentional or manipulated but simply the product of a track record. But the disclaimer "I am just going to say habit" screams "I am really, really bitter because this was totally fixed so that the kid would win."

Either this was the clumsiest language of all time or a crystal clear implication. I don't see any other interpretations. Surely, a clarification is coming. (Not to mention an apology for referring to a child with a nerve disorder and a widow as "storylines".)

Even the implication of impropriety is sure to rub NBA commissioner David Stern the wrong way and this isn't Kahn's first time getting on Stern's bad side. Kahn was fined $50,000 last July for comments made regarding Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley's marijuana use. A fine here wouldn't be out of the question considering what's at stake for the league: its reputation.

Here's CBSSports.com video of Nick Gilbert winning the NBA Draft Lottery.

Posted on: May 5, 2011 2:58 pm

Timberwolves brass chasing Ricky Rubio in Spain

The Minnesota Timberwolves are visiting point guard Ricky Rubio in Spain in an attempt to bring him to the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver. ricky-rubio

It's the NBA's version of Groundhog Day: Every six weeks or so, a report out of Minnesota indicates that the Timberwolves are somehow progressing towards bringing Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio to the NBA. 

The most recent edition, courtesy of the Star-Tribune, notes that Timberwolves brass, including president David Kahn and assistant GM Tony Ronzone, are in Europe to meet with Rubio in an attempt to get something done in the short term.
A Timberwolves contingent led by David Kahn are spending the next week in Spain for this weekend's Euroleague Final Four and to continue work they intend will get Ricky Rubio signed to a NBA contract within a month. 
But his team still has Spanish league play left during a European season that, like the NBA, never seems to end. That fact could complicate the timing of a completed deal because Rubio must exercise a $1 million-plus buyout with his Barcelona team and because Rubio and his family don't want it to appear as if he already has a foot out the door to the NBA before his team's season concludes.
The paper goes on to note that if Rubio signs before May 31 he will qualify under the current rookie scale contract set-up rather than have an uncertain contract status in whatever faces rookies in a renegotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But ProBasketballTalk.com notes that the money situation really isn't all that favorable in Minnesota and Rubio needn't be in a huge rush to get things done.
The NBA rookie scale is already very restrictive — Rubio would take more than a 50 percent pay cut to leave Barcelona for the Wolves right now, and he would be locked into that rookie deal for at least three and more likely five years. The new CBA may make the rookie scale a little smaller, but the owners are far more concerned about long-term free agent deals and restricting those than the rookie scale. The owners love the rookie scale. 
If Rubio waits a third year after his draft (one more season), he is no longer subject to the NBA rookie scale. This is what Tiago Splitter did to the Spurs — he waited it out then came over on his own financial terms.
So if the money isn't a deal-maker, then it's on the Timberwolves to prove to Rubio that they are a more desirable place to ply his basketball trade than Barcelona, one of Europe's most well-regarded clubs in one of the world's most beautiful cities playing in front of countrymen, friends and family. 

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, finished with the NBA's worst record even though they won two more games than last season! The roster has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese inside a moon crater, their coach is permanently on the hot seat and, should he be unable to deliver Rubio for next season, Kahn will be too. 

Generally whenever a European star decides to come to the NBA the first words out of his mouth are: "The time was right." It's difficult to imagine how next season, with the lockout and Minnesota's outlook, could be the right time for 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: 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 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