It’s official: David Kahn let go as Minnesota GM; Flip Saunders to step in

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It’s not a surprise. We told you it was coming. But it is still the end of an era we all enjoyed, even if we enjoyed mocking most of the time.

David Kahn has been let go as the general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves the team has confirmed, something first reported by the Associated Press and Adrian Wojnaroski of Yahoo Sports).

Long-time NBA coach Flip Saunders will step in as the new GM, although those negotiations are not final.

There are a few things going on here. One is that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is looking to sell the Timberwolves, but in a way where someone would come in as a minority owner for a few years then eventually take control of the organization. Saunders had fronted one such group (he was the basketball guy, not the money guy) and there seems to be something to that.

This also comes back to Kevin Love — in a couple of years he can opt out of his deal. The Timberwolves want to both win and keep him (they need to win to  keep him). They need a GM who has and can build on a better relationship to keep their star player, otherwise Minnesota is in the awkward a position of having to trade him before he bolts.

Of course, there is no shortage of GM blunders by Kahn that could have led to him being relieved of his duties, most of them on draft night. This is a team that had a string of top 5 picks but has yet to make the playoffs (to be fair, injuries did in any chance of that this season).

Remember the year Kahn had the No. 5 and No. 6 picks and took Ricky Rubio first then followed it up with Jonny Flynn? He left Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, DeMar DeRozan and Jrue Holiday on the board with that pick (Flynn played last season in Australia). Kahn had the No. 4 pick in 2010 and took Wesley Johnson (instead of DeMarcus Cousins or Greg Monroe). He had the No. 2 pick in 2011 and took Derrick Williams, who hasn’t lived up to that status.

It wasn’t all blunders. Kahn drafted Rubio and hired Rick Adelman. He put together what would have been a solid team this season save for the injuries.

Minnesota has the potential to be very good in the next couple years, but there were questions about whether Kahn could keep that together. So Minnesota has gone another direction.

In remembrance of this day, I feel I need to channel James T. Kirk one last time: KAAAAAAAHHHHHHNNNNNN!

John Oliver roasts Dwight Howard in monologue on trade (video)

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Mocking Dwight Howard‘s frequent team changes has become commonplace around the NBA.

It even has crossover appeal.

On “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver opened his monologue on President Donald Trump’s trade war with a few jokes at Howard’s expense. Suffice to say, Oliver doesn’t believe Howard will transform with the Wizards.

(warning: rest of Oliver’s speech contains not-safe-for-work language)

Paul Pierce: I played all 82 games after stabbing to cope with depression

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Paul Pierce was stabbed 11 times at a Boston nightclub on Sept. 25, 2000. He suffered a collapse lung and underwent emergency surgery. But Pierce famously played all 82 of the Celtics’ games that season. That feat was seen as a testament to his resolve.

Really, it was a coping mechanism .

Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

Long after he was released from the hospital, Pierce remained nervous, jittery, anxious. He couldn’t sleep. The Celtics urged him to seek counseling, but he waved them off. “I thought, ‘I can do this myself,'” Pierce recalls. “I didn’t want anybody else in my business.”

But as the weeks dragged on, moving around in public spaces became almost unbearable for Pierce. The trauma of the event had stripped him of his confidence. His anxiety spiked while dining at Morton’s restaurant in Boston just a few months after the stabbing, when the manager approached him with a house phone and said a friend was insistent on speaking with Pierce. He picked up the receiver, and a menacing voice sneered, “I’m going to kill you.”

“So now I’m really paranoid,” Pierce says. “I don’t want to go anywhere. The police sat in the front of my house for months. I was a mess.

“I think that’s the reason I got back on the court so fast. Me sitting at home thinking about [the stabbing] didn’t work. I went to every practice, sat on the sideline for hours, because that’s where I felt safe. I didn’t want those practices to end because then I had to go back out there in this world that really scared me.”

“I should have opened up earlier than I did,” Pierce admits. “It was eating me alive. Once I finally started talking to a family member, it helped me.

“I realized, ‘I should have done this sooner.’ I would tell everyone to get the help they need. My depression was bad — really bad. I never want to feel that way again.”

This is one small excerpt of MacMullan’s incredible piece on mental health in the NBA. I highly recommend reading it in full.

Report: Rockets signing Bruno Caboclo

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When the Raptors drafted Bruno Caboclo with the No. 20 pick in the 2014 draft, Fran Fraschilla famously declared, “He’s two years away from being two years away.”

If Caboclo is on that timeline, he’ll emerge with the Rockets.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

This is a one-year minimum-salary contract Houston can convert in a two-way deal. It could also include a bonus of $5,000-$50,000 if the Rockets waive him and assign him to their minor-league affiliate.

Caboclo washed out in Toronto and still struggled when receiving more – though still little – playing time with the Kings late last season. Attitude issues with the Brazilian national team don’t engender confidence, either.

But Caboclo is still just 22 and possesses the athletic tools that made him intriguing in the first place. He’s a longshot, but it’s too soon to give up on him completely.

Bucks GM: Brook Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova “really fit way” Budenholzer wants to play

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The Milwaukee Bucks got 24.7 percent of their offense from three last season, the third-lowest percentage in the NBA. They were 25th in the NBA in three pointers attempted last season and 22nd in three-point percentage.

That will change with Mike Budenholzer as coach.

Budenholzer, however, cannot shoot threes himself, so GM Jon Horst went out and got big men who can space the floor for Milwaukee: Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova. Horst talked about it to the Bucks network at Summer League (in an interview they just posted Sunday):

What’s important is Horst saying this is a team built around Giannis Antetokounmpo and his slashing skill set — teams that just pack the paint to cut off his drives will now face bigs who will make them pay from beyond the arc. The team, as a whole, will be unleashed to play faster, shoot more threes, and Budenholzer also will bring an improved defensive system.

It looks like a big three in the East this season — Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia — but Milwaukee could be the surprise team to crash the party. They have the top five talent in the Greek Freak, quality players around him such as Eric Bledsoe and Kris Middleton, and now more depth and shooting. Put all that in a new system with a better Xs and Os coach and… it’s something to watch.