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Wolves’ Kahn loves his roster, not sure why Rambis can’t win with it

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David Kahn puts the audacity of hope to the test unlike any other general manager.

After two seasons at the helm — where Minnesota has won a combined 32 games — Kahn had this to say at a press conference Wednesday (via Canis Hoopustwitter feed):

We’re ahead of where we thought we’d be with the roster.

League likes Wolves’ roster, talent, youth, and athleticism.

Really? Um, okay. (The league likes Kevin Love, who was there when Kahn arrived, and the idea of Ricky Rubio’s potential, after that not so much.) Tom Ziller summed it all up very well at SB Nation.

In 2009, Kahn took Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn with the No. 5 and 6 picks; Rubio remains in Spain, and Flynn has been a disaster. (Ty Lawson was Kahn’s No. 18 pick in that draft; Kahn traded him to Denver on draft night for a 2011 pick that became Luke Babbitt, who was traded to Portland for Martell Webster, who this season produced far less than Lawson while being older and more than twice as expensive.)

In 2010, Kahn passed up DeMarcus Cousins for Wesley Johnson at No. 4 because of a frontcourt glut. Kahn then signed Darko Milicic to a $20 million deal, traded Al Jefferson for cap space, part of which he used to acquire Michael Beasley and the rest of which he used to facilitate a deal for Anthony Randolph. These — Beasley and Randolph — are good moves on their own. Add the context of what Kahn passed up and gave up, and it’s UGLY.

There need to be changes in Minnesota, and while we have our own thoughts about how universal those changes should be, Kahn’s words made it sound like Kurt Rambis may want to find a realtor to help put his home on the market soon.

Kahn said no decision on the future of two-season coach Rambis until Kahn had a meeting with owner Glen Taylor after the season. (Kahn may want to hope that Taylor doesn’t get a video of the press conference before that meeting.) Kahn never endorsed or seemed to support Rambis and the impression of everyone there was that Kahn wants to fire Rambis.

I have no idea how good a coach Rambis is; to try and judge what he did with this roster is impossible. Phil Jackson with Gregg Popovich as his assistant could not get more than a couple more wins out of this collection of talent.

Really, what was most disturbing about the press conference was what someone on twitter described as Kahn seeming to be watching the train wreck as if he is a bystander and not the guy driving the train. He really thinks this 17-win Wolves team is better than the 25-win team he inherited. It’s not. And it’s hard to see how it gets noticeably better in the next couple years.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.