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Tuesday , Apr , 24 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Glen Taylor: Timberwolves picking up option on David Kahn

Wolves owner Glen Taylor said the team has already informed or is informing president of basketball operations David Kahn that it has picked up Kahn's option for next season.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
Not long ago, it seemed unlikely David Kahn would return to the Minnesota Timberwolves' front office.

In fact, Kahn was a league-wide laughingstock. Somewhere between the depths of Isiah Thomas and incompetence of Stu Jackson.
 
After all, he spent months waffling on whether to fire or keep Coach Kurt Rambis, even asking the former Laker to produce a homework assignment before ultimately giving him the pink-slip.

Kevin Love was unsure about inking an extension, while nobody knew if Ricky Rubio was worth the two-year wait and fifth overall pick in the draft lottery.  

Yet, somehow, it worked. Rick Adelman brought stability to the sideline. Love, in large part because of his weight loss, took another step in the superstar pecking order. And Rubio lived up to expectations before sustaining a season-ending injury.

The Timberwolves were relevant for most of 2012 and in the playoff hunt for large stretches of the season. So Kahn deserves to be back in 2013. Who knows what happens next, though?

The former media scribe signed a three year deal in 2009 with two additional options for 2013 and 2014. All bets could be off if the Timberwolves fail to qualify for the playoffs next year.

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Saturday , Mar , 31 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Garnett on returning to Minnesota: ‘No way’

During the second quarter, Garnett was taking the ball out of bounds and a fan hollered: "Hey Kevin, please come back next year!" Garnett simply muttered: "No way."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kevin Garnett may have considered returning to Minnesota -if Glen Taylor didn’t kick him on his way out the door so many years ago.

Taylor, the Timberwolves' owner, publicly bad-mouthed Garnett months after wrapping the Hall of Fame post in a bow and giving him to the Boston Celtics as part of the most one-sided swap in franchise history.

Garnett, for better or worse, has pride. Lots of it. He has a long memory and won't consider signing with the Timberwolves as a free agent this summer.

It doesn’t matter that he still loves the city. And it doesn’t matter that the team are returning to prominence behind the fine play of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.

Taylor still owns the team, which means the Timberwolves have no shot at Garnett.

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Sunday , Jan , 01 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James on T-Wolves: ‘They’re going to be a really good team’

"They're (the Minnesota Timberwolves) going to be a really good team," James said. "If it's not this year, soon."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There's good news. And there's bad news.

The good: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are right that the Minnesota Timberwolves absolutely have the talent to compete in the Western Conference.

After all, JJ Barea, Mike Beasley, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and Derrick Williams are young, skilled, and dynamic.

Now the bad: good organizations have direction from the top creating a trickle down effect. To contend, not just compete, the Timberwolves need direction from ownership and the front office.

Unfortunately, the Minnesota franchise is owned by Glen Taylor, who is one of the worst owners in sports.

For instance, Taylor couldn’t provide Hall of Fame post Kevin Garnett with a supporting cast, chased The Big Ticket out of town, empowered Kevin McHale who fired defensive guru Dwyane Casey after forty games, and, worst of all, hired David Kahn as GM.

Speaking of Kahn, he has yet to prove he can manage. Sure, he has drafted well, but the former reporter looked unprofessional when he let former coach Kurt Rambis languish for months.

James and Wade are correct -the Wolves have talent. Sadly, talent isn't enough.

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Sunday , Sep , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Wolves to give Rick Adelman 5-year, $25 million contract?

Rick Adelman still looks like the favorite, but here’s the tricky part: I hear he wants at least $5 million a year, and five years -- not four -- guaranteed. Do the math and that’s at least $25 million, sports fans.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Should the Minnesota Timberwolves spend $25 million over the next five seasons on Rick Adelman?

The answer: yes!

The Minnesota Timberwolves, who have spent the last half-decade making an annual jaunt to New Jersey for the draft lottery with the usual suspects of downtrodden NBA franchises, must change their culture.

Adelman, having made the playoffs in 16 of 20 seasons as a coach, brings credibility. And the veteran bench-boss has a relationship through his son with franchise-face Kevin Love, who the Wolves must appease to get his signature on a long-term extension.

Most importantly, signing Adelman to a big-ticket would show that owner Glen Taylor is willing to reach deep into his pocket and spend for top talent.

Taylor is still on the hook for the remaining 2-years and $4 million of Kurt Rambis’ pact, meaning, if Adelman were signed, the club would be spending $7 million annually on coaches through July of 2103.

Things are improving for the Timberwolves. All that’s left is to take the plunge and spend the money on Adelman.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Minnesota to hire Rick Adelman?

Rick Adelman is definitely interested in #Wolves job, from great source, he has made calls to line up potential assistants.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It would appear the Timberwolves have their coach. Most importantly, it would appear they have the right coach.

Reports indicate that Rick Adelman, the veteran sideline boss, is phoning contacts around the league to find assistants to join him in Minnesota.

So it would seem Adelman and Minnesota, the NBA’s one-time laughingstock, will soon make their union official. If this occurs, all parties deserve credit.

Minnesota executive David Kahn should be praised for hiring the best coach available, and avoiding the temptation to hire his former mentor in Larry Brown.

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor should be commended for meeting Adelman’s considerable salary demands while also honouring the final two years on Kurt Rambis’ pact.

Adelman could have retired, however, he opted for the challenge of turning around lowly Minnesota and developing young pieces like Mike Beasley, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and Derrick Williams.

Adelman joining Minnesota would be good for all involved. Hopefully, it happens and the NBA's version of Siberia can begin a much-needed turnaround.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Jul , 29 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Will Wolves appease Love and pay Adelman?

If they're willing to pay $4-5 million a year, the pick clearly seems to be former Houston coach Rick Adelman, a candidate who meets all of Kahn's criteria for style of play, winning track record and the unspoken but important Kevin Love Factor.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This is a minor boondoggle by Minnesota Timberwolves standards, but a boondoggle nonetheless.

GM David Kahn has publicly stated owner Glen Taylor, who has never thrown money around, will dig deep into his pockets to pay the right coach.

Fat chance.

Can you see Taylor paying a top candidate $4-5 million annually for a minimum of three years, while also honouring the final $4 million owed to former coach Kurt Rambis?

So why would Kahn state that the Wolves would hire a pricey option like Rick Adelman, who enjoyed success with the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and, most recently, the Houston Rockets?

Now the Wolves are stuck. If they hire a less expensive coach, for whatever reason, they’ll get criticized. If they hire an expensive coach, like Adelman, they’ll get criticized for wasting their limited resources on a bench-boss.

There’s one way Kahn, Taylor, and the Wolves can quiet the critics: start winning.

--Oly Sandor.


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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Love expects Wolves to ‘have a lot of success’

But I can see, especially with Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, Mike Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Wes Johnson—all the way down the line to Lazar Hayward and myself, we have a slew of guys that can really have a bang in this league and make moves and have a lot of success.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kevin Love is right. His Minnesota Timberwolves are young, talented, and optimistic.

For years, the Wolves have finished at the bottom of the Western Conference, allowing them to stock the cupboard with blue-chip prospects like Love, Ricky Rubio, and Derrick Williams at the NBA draft.

Unfortunately, the Wolves are poorly run. Owner Glen Taylor is a disaster. His right-hand, David Kahn, has made more missteps than the worst of  boogying ‘celebs’ on Dancing With The Stars.

For instance, Taylor and Kahn had no issue letting former head coach Kurt Rambis dangle for months, even requesting he submit a homework assignment, before finally firing him.

No doubt about it, Rambis did not meet expectations. However, Taylor and Kahn embarrassed the former Laker reserve. Worst of all, they embarrassed themselves and, by extension, the Wolves.

Their new sideline boss will be well aware of the Rambis boondoggle. Trust between the coach and GM and owner will be an issue.

The players - like Love, Rubio, Williams, and Mike Beasley - surely see their GM and owner as dysfunctional. Sooner or later, if they want to win, they’ll leave.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Jul , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kahn, Wolves less credible after Rambis boondoggle

I want to thank Kurt for his contributions to our franchise and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Kahn said in a statement announcing the firing. "His arrival signaled we were serious about building a championship-contending ballclub over the course of time. We have accumulated a solid nucleus of young talent with a bright future during the last two years. I am hopeful Kurt receives his share of the credit for helping develop that talent and his contributions are not forgotten as we become a better basketball team."    

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: They are perhaps the worst organization in the NBA –maybe in all of professional sports. And yes, that includes Donald Sterling's Los Angeles Clippers.

Take the Minnesota Timberwolves handling - or mishandling - of Coach Kurt Rambis, which is another hit against executive David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor. 

Now Rambis was by all accounts a poor coach –regardless of the extremely limited hand he was dealt by Kahn. But Rambis –despite not winning much of anything- deserved better.

After all, Kahn kept Rambis twisting in the wind for months, not letting the former Los Angeles Laker know if he'd return to the Midwest for 2011-12 or join the unemployment line.

Kahn even gave Rambis homework, making him write a report on how he'd improve the team if brought back. Of course, Kahn knew his assignment was meaningless –the decision to fire Rambis was made long ago.

So what's the big deal about the Wolves mistreating Rambis? They simply hire another coach, right?

Well, wrong. Professional organizations treat employees with respect and decency -or, for lack of a better word, like professionals.

Kahn, Taylor, and their lackeys in the front office should model this for their players. Such an approach is necessary to win a championship or even qualify for the playoffs –and it starts at the top.

Consider Michael Beasley's recent marijuana citation. Sure, the troubled forward broke the law, but the Wolves, specifically Kahn, will surely be upset with Beasley's lack of respect for the organization.

This would be fair -except Kahn showed an utter lack of respect for Rambis.

The acts and circumstances may be different. But Kahn has no credibility to criticize Beasley for hurting the reputation of the Wolves. He has done this time-and-time again.

Rambis is the latest black eye for the Wolves. It won't, however, be the last on Kahn and Taylor's watch.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Jun , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Pau Gasol for Kevin Love?

The topic of Pau Gasol and the Minnesota Timberwolves was discussed last week based on the word of ESPN's Chad Ford that the Wolves had interest in the Los Angeles Laker All-Star forward/center. Further research revealed that the Wolves do indeed have interest in Gasol, notably because of his relationship with guard Ricky Rubio.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: From the toast of Hollywood to potentially plying his trade in Minnesota.

Oh, how the mighty Pau Gasol has fallen. Last year, the Spanish post was integral to the Los Angeles Lakers winning consecutive championships.

This year, it went south: his play faltered; he got the Bobby Knight treatment from former coach Phil Jackson: Laker-nation turned on him; he broke up with his girl; teammate Shannon Brown had to deny reports about getting between Gasol and his girl.

Not surprisingly, the Lakers lost in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. And Gasol seems primed for a change of scenery.

But Minnesota?

Sure, they'd have young pieces in Mike Beasley and Ricky Rubio. And sure, Gasol would mentor Rubio, who he knows from the Spanish national team.

The Timberwolves are a mess. It starts from the top. Owner Glen Taylor has no class. Lead executive David Kahn routinely shoots his mouth off.

For example, these two have left coach Kurt Rambis hanging for months. They haven’t fired him. They haven't endorsed him, either.

They instead made him hand in ‘homework’. Yes, Rambis, who won several championships as a player and assistant coach, must submit a report on improving the team, and then Taylor and Kahn will decide his future.

Good organizations don't do this. They don't degrade. They treat people, all people, with respect -even a below average head coach like Rambis.

Last year was bad for Gasol. Things would be worse in Minnesota, though.

--Oly Sandor.

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Friday , Dec , 24 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron James on contraction: ‘It would be great for the league’

James had a couple of ideas in which teams could go and some players that would make other teams better right now.

"[Contraction] is not my job; I'm a player but that is why it the league was so great," James said.

"Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the [league]. Looking at some of the teams that aren't that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren't that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good. Not saying let's take New Jersey and let's take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I'm not stupid, it would be great for the league."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Actually LeBron James, you’re right and you’re stupid.

You’re right to suggest the NBA has too many teams. You’re also right to suggest the league’s talent base is spread too thin amongst these many teams.

However, you’re stupid for saying this out loud.

LeBron, a work stoppage is coming July 1st, in part, because of your little free agent stunt known as The Decision.

You remember wearing the table-cloth you stole from The Olive Garden as a shirt, chatting needlessly with Jim Gray (the ‘reporter’ you hired), and then announcing you were taking your ‘talent to South Beach’ on live television, right?  

Well, with ‘Labour Armageddon’ on the horizon, the players and owners won’t appreciate your candour.

Fewer teams mean fewer jobs for the players, also known as your labour brethren. Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher, and the powers that be with the Players’ Union won’t go for that.

Their mandate is to make sure the Chucky Atkins, Brian Cardinals, and Matt Carrolls of this world stay gainfully employed earning millions of dollars sitting on benches.

Conversely, Glen Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, won’t just toss Commissioner Stern the keys to the franchise and say ‘I’m out’.

Taylor and other owners would want compensation. They’ve invested hundreds of million of dollars in their teams, and would demand a payout from league head office.

Problem is, Stern and his lackeys in New York wouldn’t see a return on buying a team and folding it just so the remaining teams have a greater talent base.

Of course, LeBron would you put your money where your mouth is?

Contracting teams would mean less ticket sales, jersey money, and local television and radio revenue for owners and players to divvy up in what the current Collective Bargaining Agreement calls Basketball Related Income.

Less money in the BRI reduces the salary cap. Every player would then have their salary reduced. So LeBron: would you take a pay cut for contraction?

Bottom Line: LeBron you`re right about contraction. Being right and having the right to say something out loud are two separate things. Not knowing the difference makes you stupid.

--Oly Sandor.


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