Pros and Kahns
David Kahn has the right idea but sometimes speaks on the wrong ones.
by Rudy Raya / @rudy_raya
David, David, David… ugh. I just don’t know what to say about him. (Well, I do, but I was kind of going for that disappointed-parent tone.) It seems like David Kahn, President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, manages to say the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. Most uppity ups in sports organizations prefer to stay behind the scenes, make bad moves, and stay quiet about them. Not David; he seems to relish in the bad press and negative attention.
This time it was following last Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, Kahn was being interviewed by a number of reporters about the outcome and he felt entitled to comment on the eventual winner, Cavaliers’ representative Nick Gilbert, a 14-year-old boy is afflicted by a tumor inducing disease known as Neurofibromatosis. Kahn said:
“This league has a habit, and I am just going to say a habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy, and the only thing we have in common is we have both been barmitzvahed. We were done. I told (Utah executive) Kevin (O’Connor), We’re toast. This is not happening for us, and I was right.”
From the diseased, to the widowed, to even the barmitzvahed; in this politically correct climate, he was able to offend a great amount of people with one empty-minded comment. This isn’t the first time he has made a mindless decision, Kahn has a wealth of experience. He wasn’t around when the T-Wolves traded KG, so you can’t fault him there, but between drafting Ricky Rubio, trading for Michael Beasley, and the signing of Darko Milicic, he has done nothing but make questionable moves. Some for the better, and some for the worst.
David seems like a smart guy, I imagine he is in a high position for a reason. I believe that at heart he is a real basketball fan. Though he targets the big marquee names, Kahn has acquired players who were supposed to be great, but haven’t really panned out. The acquisition as well as the development of Michael Beasley makes him look like a genius, but at the time of the signing it caused a score of head scratches across the League. It seems like Kahn buys into the hype and potential of a player, instead of judging him by his current play. He is most definitely an equal opportunity employer, that’s for sure. His moves are with the best intentions, but the fashion in which he does it is almost always worthy of scrutiny.
It’s the way he offhandedly blamed the slow start to Beasley’s career on smoking too much weed. It’s the way he has handled the Ricky Rubio situation. He acts as if him and Rubio text each other every night before they go to sleep, yet the supposed Spanish savior seems to be light years away from signing anything resembling a contract. Not to mention his awkward on air exchange with Chris Webber where he compared Darko Milicic to Vlade Divac—that’s considered blasphemous around these parts! Much of the time when Kahn steps in front of a microphone, he manages to make himself and the team look bad.
The Draft Lottery is always pretty sketchy, at least to me. There is nothing like it in sports as far as determining the Draft’s pecking order. They approach it almost like a cult meeting, allowing each team to send in a single representative. One by one, by the draw of a ping-pong ball from a hamster cage and a hair dryer, each team is eliminated. Rarely does the worst team ever get the first pick, which in this case was the Minnesota Timberwolves. But don’t worry David, I know how it feels. We here in Sacramento know all too well the excruciating pain of losing Blake Griffin to the Los Angeles Clippers and their formerly non-existent fan base.
When I tuned in last Tuesday evening for the Lottery, I had high hopes for my hometown Kings, but with the same realistic expectations that they wouldn’t move up, but that they would also find a way to do worse. And they did. But honestly, when I saw young Nick Gilbert, I had the same feeling as David Kahn, “We’re screwed.” The second I saw him, I didn’t like him. Maybe it was his glasses. Maybe it was that bowtie. I hate bowties. Maybe it was the fact that his father basically put a gypsy curse on LeBron James for all eternity. And don’t lie! If your team was in line for a good pick, you thought the same thing. If not, then so be it, David Kahn and I are the two worst people in the world.
The only problem is that David Kahn is on a bigger stage and in a higher position. David speaks before he thinks. It seems as if sometimes he doesn’t know when to be casual and when to be professional. And when you are representing a multi-million dollar organization, the time to be professional is constant.
Regardless of anything, the Timberwolves have the second pick, which brings to question why he would even express displeasure with the outcome. Minnesota will either be gifted with the athletic freak that is Derrick Williams or point guard prodigy Kyrie Irving. Maybe they are doing everything right by doing everything wrong, but Kahn has them headed in the right direction. He may be a conspiracy theorist, but he is no worse than the guys trolling YouTube and World Star talking about “Illuminati” on every Jay-Z video. He just needs to work on being more private with his opinions. David Kahn has the right idea, it’s just that he sometimes speaks on the wrong ones.