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 Hoopus‘ twitter 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.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tommy Hawkins, the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame and who played for the Los Angeles Lakers during a 10-year NBA career, has died. He was 80.
Hawkins died Wednesday in Malibu, according to the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he once worked as director of communications.
He graduated from Notre Dame in 1959. Hawkins was inducted into the school’s Ring of Honor and his 1,318 career rebounds remain the oldest record on the books in Fighting Irish basketball history.
Hawkins was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the first round of the 1959 NBA draft. He played for them as well as the Cincinnati Royals, and notched 6,672 career points and 4,607 rebounds.
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets have hired veteran NBA coach Bob Weiss as an assistant on Michael Malone’s staff and announced the hiring of Calvin Booth as an assistant general manager.
Weiss has coached 31 seasons in the NBA, including the last four as an assistant with the Charlotte Hornets. He’s been a head coach with four teams, compiling a 223-299 career record with the Spurs, Hawks, Clippers and SuperSonics.
Prior to coaching, Weiss played a dozen seasons in the NBA.
Also Wednesday, the Nuggets made official their hiring of Booth, 41, who spent the previous four seasons in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office, serving as director of pro personnel last season.
Booth has quietly emerged as a respected evaluator of talent. He was one of the holdovers in the front office when Tom Thibodeau was hired to take over last summer as president of basketball operations and coach.
After one season working under Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden, Booth left for a promotion with the Nuggets, taking a position that will give him more responsibility and a greater say in the direction of another young team on the rise in the Western Conference.
Booth joins a Nuggets front office that includes Tim Connelly, who was promoted earlier this summer to president of basketball operations, a move that allowed Denver to hold on to promising executive Arturas Karnisovas as the team’s general manager.
Booth spent 10 years as a player in the league. Four of those seasons were with the Washington Wizards while Connelly was working there. The two also worked together in New Orleans in 2012-13, when Connelly was the assistant GM and Booth was a scout.
Kings big man Zach Randolph is charged with possessing marijuana with intent to sell, a felony – not because law enforcement has evidence Randolph planned to sell the drug, but because of the amount of the drug found.
Randolph’s agent/attorney denied the allegations.
Also sticking up for Randolph? Rasheed Wallace, who played with Randolph on the Trail Blazers.
Wallace, via TMZ:
“It seems to be — no matter who you are — the bigger the paycheck, the bigger the party,” Sheed says.
“I know for a fact he ain’t no dope dealer.”
Charging someone for intending to distributing drugs without any proof he intends to distribute drugs is hazardously lazy. Randolph – who has earned about $175 million in his career and is on a two-year, $24 million contract with Sacramento – can afford more marijuana than most. That doesn’t mean he plans to sell it.
The stakes are high for Randolph. If he’s convicted of “a felony involving the distribution of marijuana,” per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, he’d be banned from the NBA for at least two years.
Remember when Turkey revoked Enes Kanter‘s passport?
That looms over the Thunder’s Dec. 7 game against the Nets in Mexico City.
Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:
Without a valid passport, he is unable to travel to another country other than Canada, which allows entry from U.S. residents who have a Green Card. There is no such agreement with Mexico.
Kanter could receive a re-entry permit, a special document issued to citizens of other countries whose passports have been canceled for reasons the U.S. government deems unsuitable. The permit would allow Kanter to leave the U.S. for another country, such as Mexico, and still return. And the plan is for Kanter to acquire one before OKC’s game in Mexico City. Still, he is yet to receive a re-entry permit, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. There is, however, still ample time for that process to complete.
Kanter is a high-profile millionaire working for a billion-dollar company that has a vested interest in getting him to Mexico. He likely works this out.