(Editor’s note: the following article does not necessarily pertain to West Coast sports, but should serve as warning to fans of NBA teams everywhere).
David Kahn is an idiot.
For all the rambling about teams like the Clippers being cursed, the Hornets being cheap, or the Thunder having Jay Bilas-like upside, there should probably be a new discussion. The Timberwolves are run by a buffoon.
Kahn is an educated man, graduating from UCLA with a degree in English, meaning he might engage you with an intelligent take on Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” could gush about the honor in which Young Werther shot himself or edit the heck out of a thesis. At the same time, though, it hardly means he is qualified to run a Minneapolis Starbucks, more or less a franchise in a billion dollar industry.
In fewer than 18 months Kahn has morphed into an Isiah Thomas-like tornado in Minnesota, without, of course, the on-the-court status of NBA legend. He must be as popular in Minneapolis as Jimmy Jam and Prince, only the exact opposite.
ESPN’s John Hollinger called Kahn’s tenure “baffling.” Bill Simmons has routinely typed in an exasperated ALL CAPS when discussing him. Star-Tribune blogger Michael Rand said he is one “daffy move away from losing some people.”
One (more) move. That’s like saying the Titanic was one brisk wave away from sinking.
We know he drafted four point guards in one off-season (leaving the best one overseas–Ricky Rubio and traded two more –Ty Lawson and Nick Calathes). We also know he signed Darko Milicic for four years, $20 million on July 1, which was three years, $18.7 million too much (the veteran’s minimum is $1.3 mil.). He traded Al Jefferson, the team’s most established player, for two future first-round draft picks, Kosta Koufos’ contract, a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am, and a coupon for a free medium drink with any Sonic burger combo–which seems reasonable until you factor in Koufos and the draft choices.
In the last week, Kahn has been in rare form, even for an idiot. He viewed Ramon Sessions as a $16 million mistake and dealt him with bargain bigman Ryan Hollins to Cleveland for, wait for it…two point guards (Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West). Of course, the plan likely revolves around neither acquisition ever suiting up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
That came on the heels of the league fining Kahn $50,000 for publicly discussing details of new forward Michael Beasley’s past drug problems.
“He’s a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana,” Kahn told ESPN 1500 in Minnesota.
Ooops. Since, well, everyone is basically aware that “Super Cool Beas” is a pot head, maybe Kahn assumed it was a non-issue. But according to a summary of the league’s drug policy, “The NBA, NBA teams, and the NBPA are prohibited from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any NBA player in the program, except as required by the suspension or dismissal of a player in the program.”
It’s one thing to stock your roster with mediocre point guards, effectively giving the impression that you are simply in over your head as a personnel man. But when you fail to realize what is and is not suitable for public discourse, the matter changes entirely.
If Kahn were a lawyer, he would have been disbarred. If he were a doctor, he would have worked for the Reagan Medical Center in Westwood (just ask Maria Shriver how they handle confidential information).
Fortunately, he’s merely a business executive. One with seemingly no plan and no future. Former GM Kevin McHale’s 14-year failure as a Timberwolves’ executive served as an original Kahn–capped by trading Sam Cassell and an unprotected 2012 first rounder to the Clippers for Marko Jaric and Lionel Chalmers. (And they say the LAC is a poorly run organization).
Kahn has used McHale’s business blueprint to perfection. And if McHale’s tenure is any indication, it will be more than a decade before Kahn is out grading high school English exams, ending what must seem like a dreadfully endless winter.