One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure: The David Kahn Story

By: 07.22.10  •  28 Comments

You can’t really blame David Kahn. Bad decisions are all he has ever known.

It started back when he was a sportswriter covering the Portland Trail Blazers for The Oregonian in the 1980s, when Kahn witnessed maybe the worst NBA Draft decision in history. After the Blazers took Sam Bowie with the second overall pick (ahead of Michael Jordan) in 1984, a penchant for horrible decisions had clearly been forever engraved in the young journalist. Hired as GM of the Indiana Pacers back in 1998, Kahn went on to make some questionable first-round draft selections (Vonteego Cummings, Fred Jones among them) and even hired Isaiah Thomas, who led a loaded Pacers roster to three consecutive first-round playoff exits as head coach. Did I mention, before the Montreal Expos re-located to Washington D.C, that Kahn was the one spearheading the effort to bring the Expos to Oregon? As we speak, Kahn is plotting his next move on a kamikaze mission to destroy the Timberwolves organization and the entire city of Minneapolis.

OK, maybe that was a little strong. But make no mistake about it, since Kahn took over as general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves over a year ago, the organization has endured a rash of questionable decisions. This summer may have been the most memorable in a long time for Wolves fans, and not for the right reasons.

It started on Draft Day, when the Wolves dealt veteran Ryan Gomes and the rights to first-round pick Luke Babbitt to Portland for borderline starter Martell Webster. Then it was a trade with Miami for the ever-talented but equally as boneheaded Michael Beasley. A four-year, $20 million contract for Knicks cast-off Darko Milicic was followed up by a four-year, $16 million deal for Milwaukee backup Luke Ridnour. Al Jefferson, one of Minnesota’s only beacons of hope and the former prize of the Kevin Garnett deal, was traded to Utah for a ball rack and gym shorts. And just recently, rumors have surfaced regarding the Wolves’ interest in MILF-hunter Delonte West.

What can be asked of second-year coach Kurt Rambis when his roster has become the dumping ground for other NBA teams? How can the coach be expected to run an offense when his general manager uses the Target Center as a revolving door for players that “could have been” that now nobody wants?

There is some semblance of talent on the Wolves roster, to be sure. Even in a haze of questionable moves, it looks like Kevin Love is the centerpiece of the once proud franchise, and Jonny Flynn is on the verge of becoming a household name. But after a tumultuous offseason, all the Wolves have to show for it are three NBA starting-caliber point guards, no prized free agent coup, and more big white guys than an NFL offensive line. To put it lightly, the team is not exactly in the best shape going forward.

Maybe Kahn’s master plan, which no one seems to fully understand, will come to fruition. If and when Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic join the team, they could become All-Stars, an idea that Wolves fans have so desperately clung to in hopes of their team one day returning to power in the West. But right now, it looks like the next time we’ll see David Kahn in the national spotlight will be on ESPN for the 2011 NBA Lottery.

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