The Minnesota Timberwolves’ David Kahn could be the most idiotic general manager in all of sports, rivaling only the Washington Redskins’ Daniel Snyder.
The Timberwolves GM was first put under the microscope in 2009 when he drafted highly touted Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio. The guard, at the time, was big news and a hot commodity in the NBA.
Unfortunately, Kahn couldn’t get Rubio to sign a buyout offer, and spent the last two years watching the skills of his franchise player produce mediocre numbers in European basketball leagues – a venue that produces competition light-years away from that of the NBA.
Now, with the guard finally on his way to Minnesota, Kahn couldn’t help himself but to re-up in the idiot department over the last two weeks.
It started at the 2011 NBA draft, which was full of surprising controversy, contract buyout issues, and Danny Almonte-type age fabrication; and for the second time in three years, Kahn was the center of attention.
It’s tough to choose a spot to begin, but I’ll start with the (non-existent) T-wolves 57th draft pick, Tanguy Ngombo.
Ngombo, who had played most of his basketball in Qatar, blew up as an Internet sensation, the people hyping him as a “21-year old star.” All of his numbers support the hype, except one: his age.
That’s because after the NBA draft, it surfaced that Ngombo was actually 26, not 21. A little bit of homework on the 6’4” small forward would have revealed that, but Kahn and the Minnesota staff neglected to do such homework.
Aside from the obvious repercussion of Ngombo’s career ending five years earlier than they previously expected, there is this: according to NBA draft law, an international player must be 22 years of age or younger in order to be drafted, otherwise he must enter the market as a free agent.
The law brings up obvious concern that the pick will now be voided, a pick which Minnesota bought the rights too, taking both Ngombo and a fat wad of cash off the table for the Timberwolves franchise.
While the pick is still under review, with investigations pending, the NBA world is far from optimistic.
After that, Kahn put into motion a draft-day trade that sent guard Johnny Flynn to the Houston Rockets in exchange for the 23rd pick in the draft and Brad Miller. After Flynn failed a physical, the Rockets pumped the brakes on the deal.
In typical Kahn fashion, the deal was a major link between a train of swaps going on involving Chicago, Miami and New Jersey. Because of Flynn’s health issues, all of those league offices were held up.
Even more, Flynn was the same guard who Kahn took before Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, and Jrue Halliday – all of whom have produced much more in the NBA than Flynn. In that same draft Kahn also picked Ty Lawson, another guard who has been better than Flynn, before trading him to the Denver Nuggets.
So here Kahn sat, with a 26-year old forward that he paid for and probably won’t see play, a one-time Spanish phenom whose career might have already passed him by, and a log-jammed draft day trade involving one of the most disappointing picks in his NBA career.
So, why quit when you’re behind? What else could Kahn possibly do to embarrass himself? Well, a good way to start would be by chasing around Duke coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski, which Kahn did earlier this week.
According to the New York Daily News, Kahn’s idea was to lure Coach K from the warm sun of North Carolina all the way to Minnesota in order to coach Rubio.
I’m going to repeat that: David Kahn, the Minnesota Timberwolves General manager, thought he was going to lure Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to Minnesota with the unproven Ricky Rubio.
This is the same Coach K who had no hesitation while turning down a chance to coach the Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. And that was during Bryant’s prime.
This is the same Timberwolves team who has no true center, no proven point guard, and no dominant shooting guard.
They do have Kevin Love though, who is about as dominant as it gets. But, Kahn, being the brilliant GM he is, chose Derrick Williams (a forward who plays the same role as Love) with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft last week.
The reality is that Coach K would no sooner leave Durham for Minnesota than Cristiano Renaldo would leave Real Madrid for the Portland Timbers of the MLS.
Speaking of soccer, well, I’ll be relieved if Kahn makes it through next year’s NBA draft without trying to draft Lionel Messi.
It’s happening again.
After all the failed attempts, the sports world is trying to replace another all-time great too soon, with too little patience, and too-high expectations. This time, the victim is 22-year-old Rory McIlroy, and the all-time great is Jack Nicklaus.
McIlroy, a Northern Ireland native, won the U.S. Open this past weekend in mind-boggling fashion. In fact, “won” isn’t even the right word. He crushed, demolished, destroyed and embarrassed his competition.
Just to give you an idea of how unbelievable McIlroy’s performance actually was, consider this: The combined scores of the last 10 U.S. Open champions were 14 under par. McIlroy finished at 16 under.
His first major victory came at the same age, 22, that Nicklaus’ first major victory came. Coincidence? The media thinks not.
Before the final round of the Open was complete on Sunday afternoon, NBC already had Nicklaus on the phone. “How many majors could he win?” they asked.
“How good is he really?”
“Could he pass your record?”
All these questions came after the kid played one weekend of perfect golf; and for now, McIlroy will bask in the win.
Yet what the young phenom is about to learn is that he is entering the world of LeBron James, Freddy Adu, Greg Oden, Reggie Bush and even Tiger Woods. It is a world full of impossible expectations, relentless media, immeasurable success and, eventually, ultimate disappointment.
In fact, maybe McIlroy is smarter than I thought. Today, news broke that he will take a three-week break from competition and has pulled himself out of the French Open. He says he is going to spend some time with his family, seemingly to let things cool off, and delay his return until the British Open July 14 through 17.
You see, the media has ripped out the hearts of young superstars before. Go ahead; tell me who Adu plays for right now or what his most recent soccer achievement was. Remember when he was going to be the best player in the world?
Take James as a prime example. When you think of the basketball star, you probably don’t think all positive things. Yet we’re talking about a former NBA Most Valuable Player.
James was the rookie of the year in 2004 and an NBA All-Star every season since 2005. He’s the youngest player to score 2,000 points in a season. He’s the youngest player to average 30 points a game. He’s the youngest player to be named to the All-NBA First Team. He’s the youngest player to record a triple-double.
Yet at the end of the day, LeBron James isn’t good enough. He’s not living up to expectations. Why? Because he’s not Michael Jordan.
I shouldn’t have to tell you the last person to be put in the same sentence as Jack Nicklaus, but in case you missed it, it was Tiger Woods.
Do you know where the 35-year-old Woods was this weekend during the U.S. Open?
He was watching from home, just like the rest of America.
If I were McIlroy, that would be one thing I wouldn’t forget about the U.S. Open this past weekend. I’m not saying Woods would have changed the competition’s outcome, because he wouldn’t have. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was going to touch McIlroy this weekend.
But I’d remember it because Woods once sat where McIlroy does now. Woods, once upon a time, was the good-looking, nicely dressed and enthusiastic young golfer that McIlroy looked like this past weekend.
So before McIlroy crashes and burns five years from now amongst media prophecy of greatness, let’s appreciate his weekend for what it was.
It was a display of incredible focus. It was a performance that deserves its everlasting spot on the record books. It was a man mastering his craft. It was the display of a beautiful swing to go with an infallible demeanor (for now). It was captivating, mesmerizing, fun to watch and about as impressive as it gets.
So what do you say we let the guy enjoy it?
Check out this article as a follow up:
A few weeks ago, I made a post about how Chris Bosh was putting the beat-down on Carlos Boozer. Around that same time, I made a bet with my roommate that the Heat would win the NBA finals. Tonight is the night that fruition will come true.
Yes, I know the Heat can't win the series tonight. But - after they take a 3-1 lead on Dallas in a few hours, the series will be over.
The truth is, the Heat are just a better team. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, having LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh is simply ridiculous. You can talk all you want about how star-studded teams can't win, but they can. They do it all the time. Lakers, Yankees, even the three-headed pitching monster in Philadelphia is winning games.
While the seemingly super-human Dirk Nowitzki isn't enough for the Mavs, the power of the big-three becomes evident. The most interesting part? It's not because the Heat score 165 points a game. It isn't because they are full of flash and swagger (and they are), it's because of their defense.
Nobody wants to admit it, but the Heat are earning every win they've got this post-season. Their playoff opponents have shot 41.9% from the field. That's the second best percentage for any playoff team this season, and the best among teams that made it past the first round.
Now, against the same team that shot 60% against Phil Jackson's Lakers, the Heat are still finding success.
I nearly had to pick my jaw off the floor when I read that Jason Terry, who has been kept quiet so far this series, said after game 3: "Let's see if [James] can defend me like that for seven games."
Excuse me? Is Jason Terry, the Mavs 6th man, challenging the best player in the league? Does Jason Terry think this series is going to go seven games? They'll make six if their lucky.
First off, Mr. Terry, you're a very unimpressive 0-7 in the fourth quarter of the Mavs two losses in the Finals so far. You're 13-34 on the series. You're down 2-1, and LeBron has simply put the lock on you anytime he's wanted. Even Nowitzki has seen it.
"They keep sticking him [James] on Jet in the fourth quarters and he's been doing a good job," Nowitzki said. "Jet hasn't really been a crunch-time, clutch player for us the way we need him to."
That isn't exactly what I'd classify as a vote of confidence from your team leader. But forget about Terry, try looking anywhere but Nowitzki and you will see a Heat defense causing some serious pain for Dallas.
JJ Barea: 5-23 shooting.
Jason kid: 8-23 shooting.
Peja Stojakovic is so terrible at defense that he doesn't see more than 26 minutes a game. Still, when he's been in, his shooting hasn't been very Peja-esque either. Try 1-5 in the series and a grand total of zero made 3-pointers in four tries.
Aside from all that, as I said a few weeks back, I believe we are finally witnessing LeBron's take-over of the NBA. I think he'll leave with a few rings, never be Jordan, but earn the respect of any reasonable NBA fan. To get some more LeKnowledge, check out Rick Reilly on 'Bron: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=6634464
I'll be looking forward to the Heat winning tonight, and being so close to tasting that title in game five that they might take it before they even head back to Miami.