Monthly Archives: August 2009

Hang Time

The Timberwolves coaching staff resembles a poor man’s version of an NBA Superstar posters from the 80s.  Most people would have trouble naming three players on the Wolves roster, but with the addition of Bill Lambeer and Reggie Theus, I bet most can name three coaches. 

Lambeer is best known for his days as a member of two championship Piston teams.  He’s also won three championships as the head coach of the Detroit Shock, so he used to winning.  He’s also a defensive minded coach, which should add a nice wrinkle to the Wolves run and gun offense.

The verdict is still out on Theus.  Are the Wolves getting the man who led the Kings to an abysmal record or are they getting coach Bill Fuller?  Coach Fuller led the Deering Tornadoes and taught life lessons for thirty minutes every Saturday morning.   Fuller would be a good fit with the Wolves.  He could bring in sharp shooter Teddy Broadis to fill a need at shooting guard and Julie Connor would be a great point guard to have coming off the bench.

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I’m not like anyone else

There is still a strong possibility of Ricky Rubio signing with Barcelona, making the likelihood of seeing him in a Timberwolves uniform any time soon slim.  David Kahn is currently in Spain, trying to work out that slim chance of a buyout and he’s even a smug about it. 

“Based on the information I have attained today, no team in any league has reached a deal with DKV Joventut concerning Ricky’s buyout, which must be accomplished before Ricky is released from his contract with DKV Joventut,” Kahn said in a statement released by the Timberwolves early Wednesday afternoon.

You have to like Kahn’s arrogant attitude and relentless desire to make a deal happen.  He may not have been diligent before the draft.  He may have stuck his foot in his mouth along the way.  He may have even waivered on his plans with Rubio, but now he’s fighting.  He’s fighting for a club that hasn’t fought for anything in a long time.  McHale would have rolled over and traded Rubio to the Celtics for Brian Scalabrine and a second round pick.  

The details of Rubio’s contract are making it nearly impossible for a deal to be worked out.  Rubio still hasn’t come out and said that he wants to play for the Timberwolves, but Kahn’s still working.   He’s toeing the line between genius and moron, but would the meerkat have it any other way?

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Purple Pride

 

A purple plane flew out of Hattiesburg, MS Tuesday morning and in it was a Mr. Brett Favre.  The plane was heading for Saint Paul.  Favre was flying to join his new team, the Minnesota Vikings.  Now the real question can be asked, does he make the team better?

If you take away his Packer past and look at the signing as any other player, the Vikings made an upgrade at a position they desperately needed to upgrade.

The attributes Favre brings to the table are his leadership, a competitive spirit and the Vikings  can now open up their offense.  I know leadership and competitive spirit sound like a load of crap, but when the Vikings are third and long or down by 17 heading into the fourth, it’ll be the difference between winning and losing. 

The problem is, Favre’s competitive spirit tends to get eager and throw a couple of picks.  Adrian Peterson should be a solution by limiting the amount of throws Favre will have to make.  Other concerns would be that he fell apart at the end of last season and hasn’t won a lot in the playoffs for nearly a decade, but for Viking fans, he brings a hope that wasn’t possible with either Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson. 

 Favre adds excitement to a boring team.  A team that was going to be predictable in what they could accomplish.  He brings a superstar smile and a superstar arm to a fan base that isn’t used to seeing its team make splashes.  The signing brings hope.  A hope that the Vikings can make a Super Bowl run.

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Mark Blount Folks!

David Kahn has pulled the trigger once again.  He traded Quentin Richardson to the Miami Heat for Mark Blount.  The moves makes little to no sense, because it makes the Wolves worse in every possible way.  The roster only has one shooting guard, rookie Wayne Ellington.  Blount’s expiring contract mirrors that of Quentin Richardson’s, he’s an inferior player to Richardson and now there is a rumor that the Wolves plan on cutting Blount.  The team would save 1.2 million by making the move.

Kahn has made it clear that the Wolves are in the player development business, but that doesn’t mean he has to make bad trades.  Wouldn’t a player like Richardson be able to help a young player like Ellington?  If they cut Blount, isn’t Telfair alone worth more than 1.2 million?  Aren’t having veterans on the roster a good thing?  Couldn’t they be a valuable part of the development process?   Wouldn’t some winning help these young players develop?

Kahn continues to talk about the big picture and becoming a championship team, but his approach is illogical.  “I have absolutely no desire,” says Kahn, “to build a team that perennially wins 40 to 45 games and scratches and claws for the first round.”

I think it is safe to say there isn’t a GM in the league who wants that, but wouldn’t a GM take a 40 win season and then try adding more talent in the off-season?  If the Wolves ever become 40 win team, wouldn’t Kahn make moves to improve upon that win total and not stay on a course of mediocrity?

Does anyone else think that Kahn needs to worry about GM develop?

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Warm Regards, David Kahn

Hey David,

Here is the edited version of your letter to the fans.  I left the track changes on the page, so you can see where the mistakes are and make sure you read them this time–don’t be lazy.  The comments are marked as K1-K10 and the complete comments are at the bottom of the page.

Your Editor

Dear Stanley Brewer,

member of the Timberwolves family[k1] , I’m pleased to share with you that we’ve hiredthe hiring of Kurt Rambis to beas our new head coach. The search was extensive and thorough,[k2] and I’m completely confident that Kurt is the right man to help us develop into a championship-caliber team. He’s Kurt played for Pat Riley and coached alongside Phil Jackson, arguably two of the[k3] three greatest coaches in NBA history. He is ready for this[k4] .

During my search for our next head coach, I identified three[k5] threshold issues that became the criteria I measured the candidates against[k6] . These are some cornerstone philosophies that will guide us the next few years and I wanted a coach that could aggressively execute against all three.

(1) I want our franchise to become the league leader in player development, and player development starts with the head coach[k7] .

(2) We will be a running, up-tempo team. Yes, there will be many instances when we will need to rely upon Al Jefferson and a halfcourt offense, but our identity will be fastbreak basketball.[k8]

(3) The minutes distributed to our young nucleus in the next two years must be done with an eye toward the big picture and not the short term[k9] .

With his vast experience in the NBA as a championship player and coach, Kurt has the ability to help lay the foundation for what we aim to be — NBA champions. He is, by all accounts, hard-working and a hands-on teacher. I know he will shape and mold our players to bring out the best in them.

As always, thank you for your support and passion. I’m looking forward to seeing you at Target Center this fall.[k10]

David Kahn
President, Basketball Operations


[k1]I think you are trying to tell the fan they are valued, instead of saying you’re valued.  Don’t worry I fixed it, so you don’t sound like a jackass.  Do you think anyone’s really going to buy it?

[k2]David, don’t remind the fans how long you dragged your feet on this. Are you sure, you’re not partially confident?  I’m kidding, but take out completely.

[k3]Who’s the third?

[k4]By saying you are confident in him, you are telling the fans that you feel he is ready.

[k5]Word check

[k6]A little repetitive and why two years, why not ten?

[k7]Sweet, so we’ll be the team that dates chicks for a good personality.

[k8]Isn’t he the best player?

[k9]Change these or else you’ll never fill the seats and delete the last paragraph–it’s already stated.

[k10]By the way, this letter convinced me to cancel my season tickets.

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You’re Going Down McHale

The Timberwolves have reached an agreement with Kurt Rambis to be their new head coach.  Rambis, long considered to be Phil Jackson’s replacement was lured by the length of the deal and a little something called revenge.  The deal is reported to pay Rambis about $2 million per year, but Rambis is getting a lot more than money, he’s finally getting a chance to hit McHale back for that viscous clothesline.

It happened during game four of the NBA finals.  A series in which the Lakers were dominating with their “Showtime” basketball until McHale’s dirty play altered the series.  Kurt Rambis was going to the basket for a layup and Kevin McHale gave him a clothesline from hell, causing a fight to break out and giving the Celtics the advantage they needed to win the Championship. 

People held Rambis back, so he didn’t get a chance to hit McHale back, but it was just a matter of time.  Now, Twenty-five years later, Rambis took the Timberwolves coaching job.  The same job McHale was asked not to return to.  Twenty-five years later Rambis is viewed as one of the few bright spots in the organization, when for so long McHale was a black eye.  Now Rambis has a chance to clothesline McHale back by doing something McHale wasn’t able to do, make the Wolves respectable. 

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Rubio’s Set to Sign

The $6.6 million buyout DKV Joventut placed on Ricky Rubio’s contract and the Timberwolves lack of options to pay it off has Rubio looking in another direction regarding his basketball future.  Regal FC Barcelona has offered a five year contract worth 1.4 million per year.  Another report from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press is saying Rubio reps are seeking endorsement deals in Minnesota to help pay off the buyout, so which way will he go.   In an ideal world, the best case scenario would be for Rubio to stay in Europe for two more years and then join the Wolves.

The Regal FC Barcelona deal makes sense financially and from a basketball stand point.  The Rubio highlights show his flashiness, quickness and an excellent passing ability, serving the purpose of a highlight reel.  The reality of Rubio is 10.0 points per game, shooting under 40 percent and lacking a jump shot. 

He’s young and has time to improve, so there is no reason to panic, but there is also no reason to stick him at the end of an NBA bench.  By staying in Europe, he has more opportunity for playing time, which may result in him becoming a better player for the Wolves in two years.  At the very least, the Wolves will have a better idea who he is, instead of guessing what he might be.  Rubio just isn’t ready to be a factor in the NBA right now.   

The endorsement deal is going to be more difficult than the Barcelona offer and makes less sense on every front other than Wolves ticket sales.  The more that comes out about Rubio’s situation, the clearer it is that he slipped.  The only question is why didn’t Kahn know every angle of this situation before the draft?  Maybe Kahn knew all along Rubio was staying.  If he did, he’s a genius.  If Rubio stays, they are getting the best of both worlds.  They don’t have to worry about this unreasonable buyout and they will be getting a player with two more years of professional basketball experience that will be on the court. (This is assuming he comes over in two years.)  But as it stands, there are still a lot of what ifs and what might be or could, but I feel there is at least one certainty in this Rubio saga, he won’t be a Timberwolf any time soon.  Look for Rubio to sign with FC Barcelona.

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