From Darren Wolfson on Twitter:
Wolfson has more to say on his conversation with Glen Taylor here.
The Wolves ownership situation is important for a few reasons. It was reported on Friday that David Kahn will be let go as President of Basketball Operations. But then the team, Kahn himself, and the reported successor, Flip Saunders, all denied that a final decision had been made. It seems likely that this reported development on the ownership front will have implications for Kahn.
You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin’ through
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.
Steve Aschburner broke the story this Friday morning on Twitter:
David Kahn is out. Flip Saunders is [probably] in. (Flip went on ESPN later today and explained that no deal was finalized.) But the big news — the part that sent much of Timberwolves Twitter into hysteria — was unequivocal: The Kahn Era is complete. Done. No more draft picks and no more press conferences. No more “Show of hands?” and no more “Michael smoked too much marijuana.” No more Syracuse. Praise God, no more Syracuse. No matter who takes over the job, the David Kahn reign as President of Timberwolves Basketball can be gravestoned 2009-2013. Continue reading
Plenty more to come on this.
I hope you are enjoying the playoffs, as I am. Opening Weekend was kind of a dud, filled with high seeds trouncing low seeds. That changed quickly in the Game 2′s. Chicago rallied to win at Brooklyn, splitting that series 1-1. Golden State turned in the best playoff shooting performance since the early 90′s at Denver, evening that series as well. Perhaps the best series “on paper” is Clippers-Grizzlies. We couldn’t have asked for better Game 2 drama that Chris Paul versus Tony Allen at the buzzer.
The playoffs are, as always, the greatest time of the NBA year. But they don’t involve the Timberwolves. Covering the team isn’t so interesting in the weeks immediately following a lottery bound season. So when Bill Simmons, the most famous sports writer in the world, writes unambiguously and emphatically that Kevin Love WILL be traded this summer or next season, I suppose that calls for a RESPONSE POST.
Here’s the full excerpt from Simmons’ Trade Value Column, where he ranked Love 20th in the NBA.
Bill Simmons’ ever-intriguing “Trade Value” series of columns has begun over at Grantland. He has lots of provocative, interesting opinions, whether or not you agree with any/many of them. Simmons, tongue-in-cheek as can ever, also talks a lot of sense from angles that matter: player potential and history, team cap situation, and team need. It makes for a good read.
There are a bunch of guys I’d flag as worth checking out to see if Simmons’ idiosyncratic ratings comport with your own. But none more than DeMarcus Cousins, the almost-Wolf who was passed over in favor of Wesley Johnson.
I found what Simmons had to say – both the goods and the bads – remain revealing about what a team might be getting in Cousins. This isn’t directly Wolves’ related except insofar as he easily could’ve been a Wolf and probably still would be had we drafted him at #4 instead of Wes Johnson, but Simmons makes a fairly credible case both about what’s wrong (and right) with Cousins, what’s wrong in SAC, and how we might come to see this behemoth talent realize at least a good part of its massive potential.
David Kahn at the NBA Draft Lottery. (The fun begins around 2:15) Will Kahn be around for this season’s Lottery?
[This is Part 2 of a multipart season review series. This post looks ahead to the future--mostly next season--and what it might look like. A subsequent post will look at the team's longer term prognosis.]
1. What Should The Team’s #1 Off-Season Priority Be?
Patrick J: Re-signing Pekovic.
You’ve gotta retain a high-quality big who is dominant at times and keeps adding dimensions to his game each season. That’s priority number one, hands down. A second important priority, though, is getting a legitimate shooting guard. This dead horse been beaten elsewhere, so I won’t focus on it here. And the Adelman situation might be more important than both for the Wolves’ long-term outlook. Is he a coach, a GM, or a retiree? More on that below.
Andy G: Ditto. You’ve gotta match Pek.
They’ve gotta re-sign Pek, or match whatever offer sheet he signs. They can’t let a good starting center walk. The team won’t have any options in free agency that could offset losing The Godfather. (If Kirilenko opts in and they re-sign Budinger, they won’t really have any cap space at all.) There aren’t any trade ideas that I can see that could offset losing The Godfather. This is entirely within the team’s control and it’s imperative that they retain a foundational player that happens to be in his prime.
2. How much can a rookie – any rookie, take your pick – actually help the Wolves win next season? Can you parlay that into win-column improvements that are meaningful for contention next?
[This is Part 1 of a season review series. This post looks back in time at the season that was. A subsequent post (or two!) will use what we learned this season to take a prospective look ahead at what the Timberwolves should look like in 2013-14 and beyond.]
1. Season Highlight?
Andy G: Win over the Thunder, December 20, 2012
I’ll kick this thing off. The highlight moment of the season is an easy choice for me: the win over OKC on Thursday Night TNT. It was December 20th, Christmas time. Spirits were high with the Wolves moving to 2 games over .500 (the last point in the season in which this was the case) with a 13-11 record. All of Alexey Shved (the lead guard for the Rubio-less portion of the season), Kevin Love, and Nikola Pekovic were dominant. Pek was pick-and-rolling bigger and stronger than the top team in the West could handle. Love spread the floor with three-point bombs, scoring 28 points along with 11 boards and 7 assists (career high?). He was awesome and looked the part of an MVP candidate. And young Alexey Shved was the orchestrator of everything. Pre-ROOKIE WALL Shved was something to behold and legit reason for Timberwolves optimism. His skillset was on display in that win over Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. Shved had a whopping 12 assists that night. Oh yeah, and JJ was GREAT JJ. He killed it during #WinningTime. All in all, that was a major highlight at a point in the season when the team had statewide interest and expectations of a playoff run.
Patrick J: Concur. OKC, December 20th, or “The Proof of Kahncept Game”
The Wolves’ victory over OKC was one the few games this season at Target Center I got to attend–I was back in Minnesota visiting family and had good tickets with Andy G & co to see what I expected to be an overmatched but spiteful Wolves squad take on the best team in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Good JJ came out in full force that night — the goodest JJ that JJ can be. The rest of the team synced that night, the Wolves snapped a long OKC winning streak. Shved was Olympics Shved, Love owned, and it was basically the team we expected to see in 2012-13, minus Rubio. Imagine the potential of that team plus Rubio. I often do, and it’s a pretty amazing highlight given the way things actually turned out.
2. Season Lowlight?
Patrick J: The K-Love/Woj interview immediately prior to Rubio return.
The Wolves bested the two-seed-bound Spurs by 13 points in the season’s final game. Williams led the way again with 21 points. He had a 360 dunk. The team hit over 40 percent of its threes! Even Ricky had it going from downtown, shooting 3 for 5 from distance. It wasn’t too serious of a competition, but Popovich did play his best guys. I didn’t expect that. Maybe he was test driving offensive sets for the playoffs.
They reached 31 wins; the most since the 32 that Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis piled up in 2006-07, Garnett’s last in Minnesota. Like last season, the Wolves began surprisingly-competitive (this time the surprise was that they were winning without Rubio and Love; last year was surprising just because they were winning, period) and hit a wall. The loss of Kevin Love for 64 of 82 games was too steep a price for the young Wolves to make a serious run at the playoffs. Ultimately they finished either 13 or 14 behind the playing-as-I-type Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the always-tough Western Conference.
Later this week we’ll put together a season recap post that rehashes the highs and lows, surprises both pleasant and disappointing, and looks ahead to the summer and even next season. We also plan on doing some player “report card” posts, reviewing each Timberwolves’ season in better detail. Finally, we’ll post every few days about the happenings of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Can anyone stop Miami? Or, as Denny Green might ask, should we CROWN THEIR ASS?!
Thanks again for reading this year. The blog definitely gained readership from Year 1 to Year 2 — the readers and especially commenters are appreciated. Tonight Jim Petersen ran through a long list of excellent contributors to Timberwolves coverage — it’s very flattering to be included in his list — and there are even more than he and Dave Benz were able to get to. See our blog roll for a long list. Dating back to Robson’s blog at The Rake, I’ve found blog interaction to make NBA fandom a lot more enriching and enlightening. We’ll keep this going as long as we both feel that way. Thanks again.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor did a long interview with Ray Richardson that appeared in the Pioneer Press on Sunday. There’s a lot there, and it’s worth reading in full: Taylor talks about the status of Rick Adelman and David Kahn for next season, as well as how the Brandon Roy debacle has played out.
Yet much of the interview is cryptic, leaving one to read between the lines for meaningful subtext. My takes are below the fold.
A forgettable Target Center finale on a night when many minds were elsewhere, thinking of the victims of the marathon bombing. My only time spent in Boston was for, of all things, Pat’s wedding a couple summers ago. Thoughts are with the families of the injured and fallen.
The game tonight was not good. Utah took control early, let up a couple of times, but mostly dominated throughout. They won by 16. The closing moments had Wolves fans chanting M-V-P for Chris Johnson, in obvious jest. Al Jefferson and Mo Williams took turns dominating the low block and perimeter, respectively. The Wolves couldn’t defend Jefferson without a full double team. Another former TWolf, Randy Foye, looked much better than his opponents, chipping in 14 points.
Ricky Rubio shot the ball terribly. Derrick Williams played okay (18 points on 7-13 shooting) but didn’t dominate. He never does. Next highest in the scoring column were Dante Cunningham (12) and J.J. Barea (11) who barely hit double figures. For consistency’s sake, the Wolves shot 2 for 17 from downtown. It wasn’t pretty.