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


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.

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.