Tag Archives: david kahn

Remembering Rambis: Some High (But Mostly Low) Lights of the Kurt and Kahn Era


Andy G: So Kurt Rambis is somehow coaching an NBA team again, and that team plays at Target Center tonight. Knicks vs. Wolves. It’s natural to use this chance to look back on his time in ‘Sota. Kurt’s first Wolves team won 15 games. His second Wolves team won 17 games. I’d imagine no franchise in league history has gone consecutive seasons without winning even 18 games, but I don’t know that for sure.

Let’s cut to the chase: What was your favorite “lowlight” of the Rambis Era? (Eds note: Should we really be calling this the “Kahnbis” Era?Was it starting Darko and Ryan Hollins over Kevin Love for much of the 2009-10 season? Because that one is pretty hilarious especially if — like us — you’re not a K-Love fan.

Patrick J: My favorite lowlight of the Kahnbis era was what it did for the self-loathing crowd, writ large, which makes up much of the (hardcore) Timberwolves fan base. (Eds. Note: You know who you are, guys, it’s okay.) So let’s drill down: There were two big moments for me. First, the Kahn molecule fused with the Rambis one to create Kahnbis. That is, David Kahn got to have a large say in a big decision that shaped subsequent years of the franchise’s prospects. We know how it turned out. Still, if you’re Vegas, you love David Kahn The Gambler. Second, Kahnbis criminally shat on Kevin Love when the majority of the fan base could see that we had something in Love. It did nothing to humble Love – and it probably emboldened him – but it was entertaining in that je ne sais quois shadenfreude way. (Eds. Note: Insert other passive aggressive foreign words here.) The memory that stands out is Rambis taking perhaps the worst possible paternalistic to Love, which was one part dismissive and another part passive-aggressive. As much as I dislike Kevin Love – not because I don’t respect his skills, but because of most everything else – would it have been possible to treat him worse? And what should we think more of Love for becoming what he is – as imperfect as that is – in spite of the “coaching” Kurt gave him?

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Super Cool: The Michael Beasley Appreciation Post


After five days off that included a Mexican vacation and postponement of a Spurs matchup, the Timberwolves return to action tonight at Target Center. They face the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. The Wolves will be without Kevin Love, who is home with family mourning the loss of his grandmother. (Eds note: Best wishes to Love and family.)

The Heat has lost two consecutive games; the latter being a 20-point drumming by the Roseless Bulls on TNT. They’ve been without Dwyane Wade, but the reports on Twitter indicate he’s shooting around and might play tonight. That’s not good news for a Wolves team trying to get back to .500 without its own best player. In any event, it will be a fun game to watch because… well, LeBron James.

But we’re less interested in the MVP or his All-Star teammates than we are a former Timberwolf returning to Target Center with career-best numbers and a renewed sense of basketball purpose. That’s right, we’re talking about the one and only Supercool Mike Beasley, a longtime PDW favorite.

Beasley is only playing 17.6 minutes per game, but that’s 17.6 more than just about anybody expected after his famous regression from prized draft prospect and promising young talent to inefficient chucker who didn’t play defense but did get himself into off-court troubles. Beas isn’t just playing in Erik Spoelstra’s rotation. He’s playing REALLY well. His 23.2 points per 36 minutes is a career high. So is his 54.6 field goal percentage, which is downright ridiculous for a combo forward like himself.

Beas has always had obvious talent and it appears he’s finally begun to tap into it in a way that helps an NBA team win games. The Heat are playing 12.9 points better than opponents, per 100 possessions, with Beasley on the floor. Suffice it to say this is a sharp change from his recent seasons in Phoenix and Minnesota. It’s also way better than LeBron and the other Heat starters, which is probably unsustainable but nevertheless a reflection of how well he’s been playing.

For more on Supercool Mike’s improvement, check out Tom Haberstroh’s espn.com feature (Insider, sorry).

We thought it appropriate to preview tonight’s matchup by recalling our favorite Beasley stories.

Without further ado…

#10 – The Kevin Love 30/30 Game…in which Beas dropped 35 (Andy G)

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Minnezzzzzzzzota Nice


Well, how about that.  David Kahn is out and Flip Saunders is in, and the appropriate response from sports fans from Minnesota and beyond should be a collective shoulder shrug.  Plenty of others have done a better job of eulogizing/pulverizing Kahn than I ever could, and besides I have always been much more of a Kahn supporter than is welcome ‘round the internet.  I think he made a bunch of 50-50 gambles on young players and lost every time, took the safe pick in the draft every time (and lost), and talked too much.  On the other hand, I have stringently defended his handling of the Kevin Love situation and think he did the impossible by bringing not only Rick Adelman (the most competent coach in the entirety of Minnesota sports during my time on this earth), but also bringing in Kurt Rambis, who if you all don’t remember was *the* heir apparent to Phil Jackson, and a top coaching candidate at the time the Wolves were at rock bottom.   This is to say nothing of his post-Jewish-summer-camp-like long-distance courting of a certain Spanish point guard that miraculously brought Youtubio over from Spain.

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Wolves Ownership Speculation

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.

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It’s All Over Now, David Kahn

David Kahn: Back in the saddle for at least one more season

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


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Assessing DeMarcus Cousins’ Potential

DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins

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.

Simmons writes:

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What Did the Glen Taylor Interview Really Tell Timberwolves Fans?

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor

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.

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The Implications Of Picking Up David Kahn’s Option

David Kahn: Back in the saddle for at least one more season

David Kahn: Back in the saddle for at least one more season

Ric Bucher reports the Wolves are set to extend David Kahn as POBO for at least one more season. And no, Flip Saunders didn’t turn down the Gophers coaching gig because he’s already secretly agreed to replace Kahn at 600 1st Ave:

Latest on Flip Saunders and Minnesota Timberwolves: source says David Kahn’s position as GM is secure and that the one-year option on his contract, if it has not been exercised already by the TWolves, will be shortly.

via Ric Bucher’s post on Basketball | Latest updates on Sulia.

What does this mean? More below the fold.

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INBOX: Kahn, Adelman, and 600 1st Avenue North

Andy G: New topic and one that seems to get discussed less and less often: David Kahn.  You reminded me the other day about the time he gave Kurt Rambis a homework assignment. (!!!) We’ve come a long way from the days when Kahn wielded such authority over his coach.  To everyone’s benefit, Kahn was later able to hire Rick Adelman; an acquisition that naturally shifted the channels of authority over at 600 1st Ave. N.  But the degree to which Kahn seems less relevant is significant and poses some questions for the future of the franchise.  He still holds the prominent title of P.O.B.O., which should amount to the team’s acting agent in matters such as trade discussion and free agent negotiations.  We’ve got a recently drafted #2 pick that should be aggressively shopped and a star center up for restricted free agency.  It’s important that the Timberwolves have a clear chain of authority on these matters, both within the ORG and to be transparent to callers from the other 29 teams.

Why is this important?  Well, James Harden was dealt to Houston in a swift and covert manner that involved Sam Presti making phone calls that he certainly needed a high degree of trust would be: a) fruitful in terms of possibly ending in a big trade; and b) confidential.  I doubt the Wolves had the juice to get The Beard without dishing out Love or Rubio, but we’ll never know because (by all accounts, which includes a Bill Simmons report that Presti first called Golden State and Washington, before Houston) Presti never approached the Wolves.  Opportunities could potentially be lost, is what I’m saying.

1) Do you agree that it is important for the Wolves’ authority chain to be clearly defined and transparent to the league?

2) How much — for comedy’s sake — would you enjoy reading about Rick Adelman being assigned homework from Kahn?

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76ers vs. Timberwolves Preview: If the Jrue Fits

Jrue Holiday and the Philadelphia 76ers come to Target Center tonight

Jrue Holiday and the Philadelphia 76ers come to Target Center tonight

Tonight it’s back to the grind. The Philadelphia 76ers come to town for a 7 PM (FSN) tilt at Target Center.

The 76ers are 22-29 on the season, 6-16 on the road. If the season ended today, the Sixers would be the 9th seed in the East. They’re sniffing the playoffs. Every game matters.

The Wolves are 19-31, and 12-13 at home. They’ve lost 16 of their last 19. The playoffs are pipe dream, but the Wolves are still trying to win now – no one’s calling in the tanks yet. A deal before Thursday’s trade deadline does not appear imminent. But you never put it past Wolves POBO David Kahn to find a way to move pieces. (We floated this on Twitter earlier today for fun, and it provoked some, errrm, “strong” reactions (hereherehere.)

What does this mean for tonight’s game? We’re not looking at a Battle of the Titans, but we are looking at a couple of relatively evenly-matched teams. Both teams have stuff to prove. It’s a winnable game. It will be fun.

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Kevin Love and his Pursuit of Happyness

Kevin Love

Kevin Love


The last time Adrian Wojnarowski dished on the Wolves, he was using the news of Rick Adelman’s hire as an opportune time to blast President of Basketball Operations (POBO), David Kahn.  Woj found an anonymous league source to tell him how much Adelman despised reporter Kahn some twenty odd years ago when they both worked in Portland.

This conversation was all Woj needed to run wild with a story that’s central premise was simple: Adelman came to Minnesota in spite of, not because of Kahn.

My initial reaction to the story was incredulous: Woj was just using common sense.

The simple facts of Rick Adelman coming out of retirement at age 65 to coach a 17-65 team in the winters of Minnesota suggested to me (naive as I may be!) that Adelman likely did not hate David Kahn.  Also, while Kahn’s responsibilities over personnel decisions were almost certain to change (read: decrease) he maintained his lofty title of president.  My suspicions were confirmed in the weeks after the story was published when a local reporter (I believe for the Pioneer Press, which does not seem to allow access to old stories on the internet) wrote a piece, with on-the-record quotes from Timberwolves brass crediting Kahn with the Adelman hire. Even if Adelman privately dislikes Kahn, the tenor of Woj’s story was largely discredited if you listen to the participants themselves.

This is context for yesterday’s Woj Bomb about Kevin Love’s salty feelings toward the Timberwolves organization.

But in this case, it only adds context to a limited extent.

That’s because in “Kevin Love unsure about Timberwolves’ future” Woj didn’t resort to anon sources; this time, he had Love himself right on the record.  While we don’t have a recording of the entire conversation that perhaps would at least show a few important contextual layers (how were questions leaded, was there alcohol involved, etc.) some of the quotes are unmistakable.

Let’s all hope the Wolves move right past this and Love will come out with some conciliatory remarks about how he is happy with the direction of the team.  But in the meantime, it’s a story worthy of at least a reaction.

Mine, then Patrick J’s.

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PREVIEW: Wolves-Blazers

The Roy-Aldridge combo still gives nightmares to Wolves fans.

Wolves at Blazers tonight, so it’s a late 9:00 tip-off.  I recommend eating the nuked-up turkey now so you have ample time to nap off the tryptophan before Love-Aldridge XXVI (all Roman Numerals approximate).  There’s something of a rivalry between these teams, but it has more to do with the front offices than any epic playoff series (unfortunately).  The teams flipped draft picks in 2006, with Brandon Roy sealing the one-sided fate of this intradivision matchup for years to come.  As Wolves fans now know all too well, Roy’s knees eventually broke down, but not before he inflicted years of pain on the Wolves.  Without looking this up, I think they beat us every single time we matched up after the Garnett trade, before Ricky Rubio resurrected the Timberwolves franchise last year.  But the personnel tension extends beyond Brandon Roy.

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Reflecting on the Alexey Shved Signing

Alexey Shved’s signing is making David Kahn look good

The 5-4 record of the Minnesota Timberwolves is defined by crosswinds: In one direction blows a continuous breeze of injuries: damaged knees, bizarre knuckle and foot ailments, an ankle sprain (to a player seemingly-immune to such things), with the sum being a depleted roster and lots of improvisation we didn’t expect. The other blows all the way from Eastern Europe – Moscow to be exact, improbably flitting CSKA stars Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved into Timberwolves POBO David Kahn’s lap all the way over here in Minneapolis.

Kirilenko and Shved have exceeded expectations and helped the Wolves team gather needed wins in a competitive Western Conference. Kirilenko is the team’s MVP by a wide margin, thriving under Rick Adelman’s player-movement offense, perhaps to a degree never reached before in his career, even in his prime as a member of the Utah Jazz.

Kirilenko is playing at a high level, and is being paid as such; last offseason, he inked a two-year deal worth $20 Million, which includes a player option on the second year – worth about $10.2 Million – allowing him to explore free agency if he chooses. All things considered, it isn’t a great contract, only because with the level of play he’s quickly reached, we would all wish he were locked up for 3-4 years instead of just one.

Shved’s contract, on the other hand, is looking mighty fine.

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Person of Interest: Paul George

Paul George is a baller

Illustration by Howard Shum. Go check it out.

Paul George is good at professional basketball. Really good.

We’ve raved before about George’s underrated defensive prowess, but it’s worth reiterating: George can defend the hell out of the ball. George has those extremely long arms, that effortless footwork, and excellent positioning that, on a good day, might remind you of Scottie Pippen.

The Wolves will have to contend with George tonight, when the Wolves take on the Pacers at Target Center at 7 PM. But  they won’t just have to plan for George’s disruptive defense…

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Western Conference Preview: The James Harden Edition

How does James Harden’s departure from Oklahoma City affect the Thunder’s prospects in the West?

So, James Harden. Yep. Gone. OKC is screwed. Or is it? You’ll find out in my Western Conference preview.

But first things first: Why did OKC trade one of its core stars, just before the season starts, and why was it that the Rockets were the ones who outbid the rest for Harden, a pricy commodity in a market that has few quality shooting guards.

The answer to the first is easy: cost. OKC owner Clay Bennett was unwilling to pay it, James Harden was unwilling to take less so he wouldn’t have to, and so a trade had to be made, even if not paying Harden might cost the Thunder an NBA title. This sends a horrible message to fans, and Durant and Westbrook should grab their mates and move the team back to Seattle.

The answer to the second is less clear. But I have a theory. It centers around Kevin McHale, Royce White, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and facial hair.

My theory goes like this: Having drafted point-forward Royce White, and subsequently discovering that Royce won’t be bringing much to the table this season (except increased awareness of the challenges of anxiety disorders), McHale and Daryl Morey concluded that in lieu of on-court competitiveness, they would  rekindle Houston’s rivalry with the up-and-coming Timberwolves.

They would do so by attacking an area of perceived Wolves vulnerability: facial hair.

McHale and Morey figured that after former Wolves beard Brad Miller – a former Rocket – retired, the Wolves’ claim to “Best Team Facial Hair” was up-for-grabs. Why not try to win something this season, and make White useful, all in one go?  By trading for Harden’s beard, and teaming it up with White’s  – White’s nascent beard already could put many Taliban to shame, and they go all-in on beards – in the NBA’s new Beard & Mustache Competition, which will be broadcast live just before the NBA Draft Lottery in the Spring, Houston has begun pursuing that strategy.

But McHale and Morey’s strategy is flawed. It neglects the fact that Kahn has armed the Wolves with a new Secret Weapon – a failsafe – in the form of Louis Amundson’s beard. In fact, RUMINT obtained by punchdrunkwolves.com indicates that Amundson’s beard has never lost in the “Most Pungent” competition in any Beard & Mustache Contest it has participated in.

Facial hair aside, there’s obviously a big story here: when you remove James Harden from the Thunder, it shifts the balance in the West, and also has implications for the Wolves. So what is the fallout? Find the answers to those questions and more in my Western Conference preview, located below the fold.

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Chain of Command

Rick Adelman can thank David Kahn for the opportunity to coach Ricky Rubio. But what about the rest of this roster?

Let’s do a quick back of the envelope scorecard of David Kahn’s performance.

Selecting Jonny Flynn over Steph Curry.  Check.

Trading Ty Lawson. Check.

Selecting Wes Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins or Greg Monroe. Double check.

Hiring Kurt Rambis. Check.

Long-term contract for Darko Milicic. Check.

Each move was, as the saying goes, an “epic fail.”  And each is solely attributed to David Kahn, Timberwolves POBO.

Kahn has become something of a sports management sensation, not only for surviving these blunders, but for coupling them with public-speaking gaffes that have provided endless amounts of material for sportswriters and bloggers the world around. Continue reading


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Top Wolves Questions Heading Into Training Camp, Part I

What will David Kahn do next??

With training camp just around the corner, there are a bunch of top-level questions that remain unanswered as October 2nd approaches. There’s been a ton turnover on the roster, and many players’ roles are anything but clear. Long story short, the team’s success this season will likely hinge on the answers.

In a two-part series, I look at the ten questions I think are most important heading into the 2012-13 season. More below the fold.

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INBOX: Goodbye Michael Beasley, Hello Brandon Roy

Fun with Photoshop

Patrick J: Lots of Wolves activity of late: Beasley’s gone, Roy’s in, and the fun has just begun.Good or no good?

Andy G: Before I dig into last night’s wave of Blazers-Wolves free agency warfare, I’ll say my piece about de boi Mike Beasley.

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INBOX: Would You Draft Perry Jones III?

Perry Jones III

Andy G: Chad Ford posted his Mock 8.0 today. Wolves take Fab Melo of Syracuse (!!!) at Number 18, immediately followed by the enigma from Baylor, Perry Jones III.

If you know anything about David Kahn, and if you know anything about Perry Jones III, you know that it would absolutely crush our POBO–perhaps to the point of tearful pouting–to have this type of LENGTH AND ATHLETICISM suffer the Adelman Family Veto.

What do you think? (more below the fold)

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J.F.KAAAAHHHHHNNNNN!!!!: An inappropriate comparison of Presidents and situations

This coming October marks the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when President John Kennedy was faced with fresh knowledge of missile bases in Cuba.  (Yes, I know I’ve now begun consecutive posts with “anniversary” sentences.  Don’t ask me.)  JFK quickly assembled a panel to meet in secret and decide on appropriate measures.  The three basic choices were an airstrike on the weapons base, a full invasion of Cuba, or a naval blockade.  After days of debate and internal struggle, Kennedy decided against an attack on Cuba, instead opting for a naval blockade.  This was against the overwhelming consensus of his panel which included officials of intelligence, military and finance.  Kennedy’s primary concern was that an attack on Cuba would be met with a nuclear response on Berlin, commencing an all-out nuclear war in Western Europe and possibly America.  The prez’s decision could not have been more correct, as the blockade prompted talks with Khrushchev that resulted in the removal of weapons from Cuba.  In his recently-published, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, Chris Matthews explained:

It was later learned that the Soviets had deposited in Cuba a disturbing cache of nuclear weapons in early October, well before the Kennedy administration had the photographic evidence that spurred it into action.  There were ninety nuclear warheads in all.  Thirty of them possessed sixty-six times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  There was an equal number of warheads with the firepower of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, plus an assortment of other, smaller ones.

Matthews, Chris. Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. Simon & Schuster, 2011 (p. 317-18).

Matthews then quotes from Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs:

“If a quarter or even a tenth of our missiles survived–even if only one or two big ones were left-we could still hit New York, and there wouldn’t be much of New York left.  I don’t mean to say everyone in New York would be killed–not everyone, of course, but an awful lot of people would be wiped out…And it was high time that America learned what it feels like to have her own land and her own people threatened…

The Americans knew that if Russian blood were shed in Cuba, American blood would surely be shed in Germany.”

(Matthews, 317-18).

Kennedy’s foresight, courage and restraint prevented nuclear war and preserved world peace.

So what the hell does this have to do with Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations, David Kahn, you ask? Continue reading


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