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Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 2:55 pm  |  51 responses

Links: Bron, Kahn and Webber

Plus, Darth Vader!

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Last summer on the day after the NBA Draft, I spent a couple of minutes IMing with a writer friend about the Draft. I’d seen an interview with the new L-Wolves GM David Kahn during the Draft, and I just got a weird vibe from him. The person I was IMing with had known Kahn for a while, and this person spent was telling me that Kahn was not only the perfect person to be the GM of the L-Wolves, but also that he’d done a great job in the Draft, picking Rubio and Flynn back-to-back. Even though I didn’t understand those picks, I reserved the right to pass judgment because it would obviously take some time to figure out how to turn that franchise around.

I’d love to be able to upgrade them from L-Wolves to W-Wolves, but one year later, and the Wolves still deserve the L. It gives me no real pleasure to see them make so many strange moves and flounder about. It’s more fun to see franchises improve and become contenders, and maybe the Wolves will get there eventually, but for now the Wolves keep making weird draft picks, overpaying for guys and pulling off terrible trades.

Which brings us to last night. With the L-Wolves playing in the Vegas Summer League, Kahn sat in with Matt Winer and Chris Webber for a few minutes to talk about the future of the franchise and…well…the video is embedded here:

I was going to break this thing down but Kelly Dwyer beat me to it and killed it here. This interview is probably the highlight of Summer League thus far.

A few bits I particularly enjoyed were when they talked about Darko Milicic:

KAHN: I haven’t seen a big man pass like him.
WEBBER: (bursts out laughing) Wow.
KAHN: He really does pass like Vlade.
WEBBER: Wow. Like Vlade Divac?
KAHN: Absolutely.
WEBBER: Whoa.

And then there’s this…

WEBBER: One thing that every guy who’s played this game knows is that it only takes one guy to believe in you and put you in a position for success, so… I’ll definitely be looking forward to watching his growth with you guys this year.
KAHN: Well, and I think your career is somewhat indicative. What year was it that you really felt like…kind of, felt like you were in your own. In the League.
WEBBER: Yeah. I’m…you know…I’m not really sure. But…(laughing) we’re not talking about me and Darko at the same time.

For what it’s worth, I’d assume Webber felt pretty confident in the League by the first game of his rookie season, when he started and went for 15 and 7, with 3 steals and 3 assists and 2 blocks.

• Unrelated to basketball but also worth checking is this story about an epic prank that was pulled on a writer over at the New York Post.

• This is also worth your while:

(Background on how it happened is here.)

• And don’t miss this great story by Marc Spears on Chris Washburn.

• Last Thursday night was one of the stranger nights of my basketball life. Of course there was “The Decision,” that odd, awkward hour of programming. If anything, I’m guessing whoever produced that show for ESPN has a lot more respect now for the people who produce finale shows for “Survivor” and “The Bachelor” and whatnot. It’s tough to make anything feel interesting for an hour on TV, much less a show based around one person making one announcement which takes all of three seconds.

And did you notice what Davis Stern said about the show earlier this week? “I think that the advice that he received on this was poor,” said Stern. “His performance was fine.  His honesty and his integrity shine through. But this decision was ill-conceived, badly produced and poorly executed.”

But how did you really feel, Mr. Stern?

I liveblogged the show for SLAMonline, and as soon as it ended I went on a couple of radio shows to talk about it. Mostly, I was just surprised that he was leaving. I thought he would stay, because I thought it would be impossible for him to leave his home behind. But sometimes you have to leave home to find yourself or find happiness. I get that. I was 25 years old when I left Atlanta, the city where I’d lived my entire life. It’s his life, his choice. I feel bad for Cavs fans, losing the best player their franchise has ever had, but I’m excited to see how all this is going to play out in Miami.

Anyway, by 11:00 PM last Thursday night I was ready to shut it down for the night, but I checked Twitter one last time and found out about Dan Gilbert’s letter, which really was just about the perfect bizarre ending to a bizarre evening. I still smile when I think about that letter being written in Comic Sans. And I definitely know who the fake Twitter account in the next SLAM will be.

Speaking of the next SLAM and what’s coming down the pipe, I should probably mention that earlier this week I turned in a massive round of edits on my book, which means it’s about 90-percent finished. I’m still not sure of the release date because the Braves won’t eliminate themselves from contention this season. So there’s a chance it’ll be out this fall, or next spring at the latest. And today we’re finishing up a special issue of SLAM that will be out in about a month, and then next week we get rolling on our annual KICKS issue. After that we crank out another SLAM.

Before we get to all that, though, I’m taking next week off and taking my talents somewhere with no internet access, no cell phone signal, no Twitter, no email, nothing. I’m unplugging so I can return charged up for the next few months.

And so I don’t leave you completely empty-handed…I got an email the other day from my man Sekou Smith, who allowed me to sit in with him and Micah Hart this week on the NBA.com Hangtime Podcast to talk about what we agreed was one of the strangest weeks in the history of the NBA. So here’s an hour of NBA talk, from the whole Bron/Cleveland situation, to what to expect from the Heat, to summer league action and the moves Phoenix has made, plus Derek Fisher re-signing with the Lake Show. (Also, I give my prediction for next year’s champs.)

It’s on itunes here, or NBA.com here, or here’s a direct link to the audio so you can download it or listen over your computer.

Catch you guys next week…

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  • ciroqobama

    This guy is a complete joke- How’s Rubio working out for you assclown? Webber should have slapped him.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I think Kahn was referring to Webbers early struggles to stay in one place. He clashed with Don Nelson and was run out of Washington before he finally settled in Sacramento. Of course Webber was a better player than Darko ever will be, but I think Kahn was just expanding on Chris earlier point. Of course he hasn’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt either….

  • Overtime

    Best part:
    Webber: Good Luck

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    @overtime: Co-sign.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    “We didnt improve on the court at all, but we do serve breakfast”

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    I loved that Chris and Matt refused to make eye contact with kahn while he kept looking back and forth at both of them, most likely to avoid the customary end of interview handshake.

  • http://www.clownpenis.com Tarzan Cooper

    Mr murdoch would like to know why youre wearing short pants

  • Fat Lever

    I think most of my thoughts on Kahn has been expressed, but did you see the level of play between Sac and Min? I think the guys at Bel Air academy would give these “pros” a run.

  • T-Money

    C-Webb was looking HEATED at the end. lol ready to throw down or something

  • olddirtyphil

    “we have breakfast and lunch now before and after every practice” – david kahn, what a crazy mofo it was so awesome to hear that i laughed so hard cwebb is the man and was that kahn’s kid at the end who was the kid in the twins shirt sitting with them, and the good luck part is funny too it all is

  • peter

    towards the end. chris also said “good luuuck” hehe. much respect for webber, but myles makes a point probably just miscommunication. I’ll give David the benefit of the doubt; otherwise, it seemed a little messed.

  • Atrain

    Most Celtics fans love David Kahn, because he makes Kevin McHale look like Sam Presti

  • http://www.mauricegarland.com Maurice Garland

    aw man…this was hilarious. none of my friends have NBA TV so I couldnt call anybody to laugh at this with as I was watching it last night. Classic material.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Classic Links. This was awesome lang. That article on Washburn id tremendous.

  • Pingback: Deadspin: Darko Milicic Is Bread From God, And Other Crazy Things David Kahn Believes [Kaaaahn] | developing-news.com Latest hot breaking news

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    does david kahn even know what a basketball looks like? why does he talk like he’s from another planet? a planet where basketball teams are made up of PGs only. and darko. who can really pass. at least he didn’t say he will be the next sabonis.

  • http://worldcup2010.worldsoccer.com/ Tariq

    I love Chris Webber, but come on C-Webb! I don’t think the guy meant any disrespect. Obviously he doesn’t mean that Darko is the greatest passing big man of all time. I just think he meant that in his role as L-Wolves GM he hasn’t come across any 7-footers who can pass like Darko. Webber seems p!ssed.

  • http://www.soundclick.com/thesupergenius Che-Son

    Wow. I’m almost glad I don’t play for the Limberwolves now.

  • Sporting-Lisbon-Blazers

    LOL, this dude is a joke…glad CWebb put him in his nonrelevant place. I´d be offended too, LOOK AT CWEBBS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR NUMBERS!

  • http://counterkicks.com Q-Tip

    man that modernized player’s lounge is really helping them relax after another loss

  • Scottie Pimpin

    i want whatever khan is smoking.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    special issue – KICKS – SLAM…I’m lovin’ it.

  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    And who the hell knew the 6 train was so much fun? All I have on the A are homeless beggers and the occasional break dancing kids.

  • Noel

    Cosign AlbertBarr. More old school Links please

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    WOOOOHOOO!! Stormtroopers. On a subway. On SLAMONLINE (the place where the term ‘nerdjuice’ was once coined!). That was freaking cool of you to post this Lango!!! Thanks.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Even better than having the stones to re-enact that Star Wars sequence in a New York subway (solid job by the actors), the crowd reactions were priceless! The lady giggling as a Stormie walks by holding on to his crotchpiece made me roar in laughter. Wow, these links made my day. Darksaber to rogue one (Lang), i’m out.

  • http://www.clownpenis.com Tarzan Cooper

    Tariq, kahn invoked the name vlade

  • Jesse Dunn’s Ghost

    Hey lang, will Jesse Dunn be in your book?

  • JoeMaMa

    Man, people need to chill out. Kahn is right about improving the culture; after McHale basically left the organization in shambles, Kahn has been tasked to rebuild it with youth and a strong organization, top down. Kurt Rambis learned from Phil Jackson and won multiple titles, so he’s familiar with a winning culture. Also, Kahn has picked up good young players in Flynn, Wesley Johnson, and Love, and managed to get Webster and Beasley for a pop and a bag of chips. As for Darko, 4 year/$20 mil is peanuts for a young athletic big man. He wasn’t comparing Darko to Webber, but their situations. Webber in GState was a stat friendly/personnel mess, and he really became a big name in Sacto. Darko will never be Webber, or Vlade, but Kahn knows the guy needs confidence and was giving as much as he could. I’m no T-Wolves fan but for an organization starting over, Kahn is putting pieces in place for when they’ll be competitive in a few years.
    It’s way there hasn’t been a whisper of him getting fired. In the West, it takes time. Or Sam Presti.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Nikola Pekovic: that is all.

  • Sanchez

    Webber at the end “Good luck!” Hahaha

  • Ed LOmax

    F*&ck me this bloke is a toolbox.. He must be getting paid by the bucketload yet he continues to make ridiculous decisions. Then he signs Darko and B Easy and drafts 18 point guards. Wouldn’t you take a lottery pick and/or one of your many PG’s, and try and secure ONE franchise type player? No, why don’t you put the most immature player in the L onto a team with no veteran leadership and a shoot first starting PG. OMG

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    The third voice in the podcast should be silenced.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Also….funny how three Hawks fans speak so poorly about the Heat like it’s due for failure. Do yourselves a favor, don’t put them on the cover. No one wants to read some bulls*it article that whoever you send to cover them, writes a piece full of faux praise just so they can actually GET the piece printed even though most of you are either a)hoping for failure for them or b)embarrassing yourselves by trying to portray them in a positive light when in truth, we know that’s not the case. This is a general statement, btw.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Good stuff, Lang. @Jesse Dunn’s Ghost: I think Jesse Dunn is giving a blurb on the back of the book.

  • Tommy Patron

    The Twins kid combs his hair with a brick. No wonder David Kahn is bald…

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Jesse actually ghost-wrote the book. And Eboy, I’m GLAD the Heat signed the big three b/c it means I’ll get to go to Miami more often. Did I say I was hoping for failure? I just think they need to put more pieces around them.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I was a general statement, Lang, related to a bunch of the other writers and the comments I’ve read from them since last week.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    actually, Kahn said some reasonable things such as it takes time to change the culture, but i don’t think upgrading the player lounge really will help much. i don’t think he meant to compare webb and darko’s actual playing ability, but the way the conversation was going, that’s what it seemed like. he had the total deer in the headlight syndrome going, and that’s not a good look for a GM, who needs really good people skill, and he clearly does not posess much of it. like webb said, “goood luuuck”.

  • Matt

    I think I get what khaaaan is trying to do with getting the personelle to fit the style of play Rambus wants–which is an up-tempo triangle–like lakers at 1.5 speed. That is why he is looking for smart, athletic players who can pass. Rubio and Love certainly fall into that category, where as Jefferson was too slow and Session has bad bb iq. Problem is, Beasley will not be able to pick up that triangle offense (see Artest flounder in a slower version). Rubio ain’t coming, Flynn won’t progress with Ridnour. They’ll miss Jefferson’s offense and defense (weird, but the d inside will suffer). They’ll be like GS without the shooting ability.

  • Patrick

    As Bill Simmons said: KAHNNNNNNNNNNN!
    http://kahhhhhn.spreadshirt.com/

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Classic Links! Yes!

    Wish NBA.com would update their podcast page. Ep. 17 ain’t up yet. Instead, I just downloaded using the link. Whatever. Good stuff though.

  • R.Encarnacion

    Why Lebron James is no longer one of the Top 10 players in the NBA…
    Yesterday at 8:41 AM | Back to Blog Posts | RSS » | Edit_sm Edit Post | Delete Delete Post
    Report a Violation

    Why Lebron James is no longer one of the Top 10 players in the NBA…

    I imagine a lot of people are tired of the Lebron James story.

    Not!

    In my 23 years of life, this is the first time I see an athlete who used to be beloved by many and respected by all, be turned on in such a public way. From the ESPY’s to Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, jus the mention of his name produces boo’s as if he actually did something to those people personally. Does he deserve this treatment? I mean its not like he committed a crime or anything. Are people out of line here? Well, in my humble opinion, NO they are not. Wait.. Wait. Wait. Tranquilo bobi. Don’t stop reading now, just hear me out. (I speak spanglish deal with it, more is coming.)

    Like I noted previously, I’m 23 years old, born in upstate New York, but left at 2 years old to be raised in South Florida. Yup. Yup. Raised in Miami- Wade (Dade) and Broward County. You really can’t be more South Florida than me. Attended 4 years at Florida International University located on Calle 8. The same street Chris Bosh will be buying his cafecito from. Being a South Florida boy, you would think by default I would be ecstatic about having Lebron James on the Miami Heat. And to some degree apart of me loves the idea of having him apart of the squad. Especially, the part of me that loves to party and stay up till that sun comes up. With all do respect to all the major cities in this country. No city throws down like Miami dejame decirte, pero of course I am a bit bias. Nonetheless, I said just APART of me was happy he was here. The other part of me, the part of loves the game of basketball, not just the NBA, but the game itself. Yeah that part of me, which holds a greater part of my heart in this topic, hates the fact he became a Miami Heatian. Its pretty ironic if you think about it. He choose to play for the only city that really didn’t care if they had him or not. I don’t want to sound like a broken record by saying the same things other sports journalists have mentioned like, “He will destroy his legacy by joining the Heat” or he is a “quitter,” because who am I to criticize his decision. So I’m going to keep the rest of my opinion to myself.

    But that’s no fun. I mean this is my first blog entry ever in life. Might as well, desquitarmelo. (Google it.)

    Look the sports writers, journalists, bloggers, whoever the heck they are, are right, sort of. His “legacy” is obviously, tainted to the degree that he will never be “the man” who led the Heat to a NBA championship. Even if he does lead the Heat in every category possible, this will always be D. Wades’s team. Especially, for us the people of South Florida. There’s only one first time and D. Wade was the one who pop Miami’s NBA championship cherry.

    Too much?

    My point is “Flash” was the one who led the Heat to their first championship and as long as he is on the team he will always be the darling, the main man, the “Jordan,” if you will, in our eyes and for that matter I think everyone else’s eyes, also.

    Lebron wants to win a championship and now that he is in Miami we all expect them to win, eventually. Hell for the first time it seems like, Lebron and Chris Bosh expect to win. I say that in the intro it kind of came off their like Chris and Lebron never ever expected to win with their former teams. A lit surprising for me to hear when you consider the Cavaliers did have the best record for the past two seasons. Pero co~no I have to say if they don’t win with the team. Well, then I’m sorry my friend but Mr. James really is cursed, with a team that loaded with talent. I betting even David Stern would bet on them, if wasn’t the commissioner of course. Just to give out my prediction real quick I think they get three, but that’s just me. And like me, they are many other people that feel like, there no surprise if they win I mean there they are “Three Kings.” Us Latinos, we love the Three Kings. On January 6, many of us leave grass in a shoe box or container with water on the side, so when the Kings finally do arrive on their horses they have something to feed the horses with for traveling around the world. I bet you PETA doesn’t do that. This version of the “Three Kings” may not bring us presents, but if they bring us championships, I guess that will do. Nonetheless, the world is expecting them to win multiple rings and who can blame them. They will be great. They have one of the top three players in the league in “Dwaynelius” Wade and two other players who are in the top twenty. I‘ll get into that a bit later. (For the record, Dwaynelius is D. Wade’s greek mythological name.)

    The funny thing is Lebron James unlike, Bosh and Wade had the most to lose and did lose. Regardless if or better said when he wins his rings on the basketball court, he already lost in the court of public opinion. What did he lose?

    Respect.
    No let me take that back.

    A LOT OF RESPECT.

    By just not the casual fan, but more importantly by people who more than the NBA, love the game of basketball. Integrity man, that what you showed you didn’t have at the end of the day. Harsh huh? I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but I am trying to be honest with myself. Before he announced he was coming I really didn’t think much of Lebron James. He was never particularly my favorite player. Doesn’t mean I didn’t respect the man’s game. He is beyond skillful and talented, blah blah blah, and you know that good stuff. But I got to tell you he lost the respect of fans, and I’m sure players, alike who could care less about smoke coming out from the stages during the introduction of the “New Big Three” in the Triple A. The game is about, in my humble opinion of course, is about winning the right way. Yes, there is winning the wrong way as stupid as that sounds. Look I don’t know about other people, but when I play a pick up game of basketball I enjoying being on a team that does not necessarily have the best players in terms of basketball skills. Why you ask? Because the feeling of beating a team that’s loaded with talent is so much sweeter, than being on a team that is loaded talent. Pick up basketball is not that same as the NBA. I’m not kidding myself, but if I do lose with my less talented team, I’m the first one to call for a rematch. YOU DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR TEAM and that’s what Lebron James did. And I hate that I’m using the word “quit” when describing Lebron. I like don’t too, but I got too call like it is. He quit on his teammates, and great players make the players around them better. You instill that confidence in them and if that team, that franchise, was built around you finish constructing what you yourself said you were going to do. I repeat what I said before, where was his integrity? And I solely mean on a competitive level. I use to date a girl, a cute little cubanita, who would tell me “Lo que se empieza se termina,.” “Whatever it is you start you finish” and the fact is that he didn’t finish what he started and that’s why I think there is ,such a gigantic disgust and backlash against Lebron, apart from the obvious reasons, of course.

    Which leads me to the title of the blog. The whole Lebron James decision allowed me to have a new found respect for players like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone , John Stockton, and every other great player who stuck it out with their team, but was never able to bring a championship to their cities and franchises that supported them and built around them. By LeBron James going to Miami it shows how difficult it is win a championship. By those other guys staying with their teams in their prime, it shows you how much more harder it is to stick out with a team that relies on you to lead them to a championship. Furthermore, it shows what guts and self belief each one of those legends had in themselves and in their teams to stay in their respective franchises. I know eventually, when they got older some of them left to try to win a ring someone place else, but the fact that they gave their best years to those franchises that consciously built around them. That is worth great admiration and respect. Even in today’s game with players Dirk Nowitzski and Steve Nash, who are at the end of their careers, not in the sense that their production is decreasing, they still want that shot at bringing championships to Dallas and Phoenix and they believe they. Is that not the reason why you play the game? “You play to win the game!” I respect the fact that those guys truly believe in their teammates and they want to win for their cities who gave them their chance. Look I don’t blame Lebron for wanting to play alongside D. Wade and Chris Bosh, but I do blame him for not believing in himself and just as important his teammates enough, in thinking they can beat Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Its because the lack of self belief that I believe Lebron James can no longer be considered one of the top players in the game.

    The TOP 10 players in the NBA who are currently better than LeBron James, my humble opinion, go as follows: Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzski, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo. Those 10 guys may not necessarily beat Lebron James in a game of one on one game, but the greatest ones are not the ones who want to beat you one on one. The great one are the ones that want lead their team in beating your team. I’m just saying. And to add as a final point I know none of those guys do it by themselves. They all have tremendous help and some nights they are not even the best player on their team. But you know what they all have in common?

    This fall they will all be LEADING their teams in a pursuit of a NBA title this year and that’s something Lebron James may never have the distinct honor of having again, but then again maybe he never wanted too.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    lol I know Kahn didn’t mean it like that, and he seems like a nice guy and all, but it was funny because he KEPT ON making parallels between the Wolves and Webber’s Kings. First Vlade, then Chris, and then the entire Kings system? Haha. Webber looked p!ssed off for sure.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    “We’re not talking about Darko Milicic and myself in the same sentence here.” HA
    btw, the Starwars clip is great.

  • http://big11mel@yahoo.com Big Mel

    I like how everybody is on here making excuses on how stupid this dude sounded. C-Webb was a beast when he first stepped on a NBA court with the Golden State,so that compairson was just stupid.

  • hillbilly

    I thought (okay, hoped) this article was gonna be about Chaka Khan. I was wrong. Dyslexia’s a bicth.

  • haslem

    R.Encarnacion what are you smoking

  • LD

    Webber sure did struggle like Darko his first year winning rookie of the year and all.

  • http://minusthebars.blogspot.com Don

    It’s Kahn, guys.

    Nuff said.

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