Following a tumultuous four seasons for David Kahn as president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, owner Glen Taylor has decided against exercising Kahn’s team option for the 2013-14 season thus ending his tenure with the organization. The now infamous Kahn has been the pin of jokes throughout the basketball community due to his disastrous job drafting, but let us not forget that the man was able to strike gold on franchise cornerstone Ricky Rubio and even helped to bring Rick Adelman to Minnesota and should be given credit where it is due.
Although Kahn was able to reshape the team’s roster and helped to bring excitement back to the state’s NBA team, his misfirings in the draft severely cost the organization. In 2009, Kahn drafted Jonny Flynn sixth overall over the likes of Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and DeMar DeRozan, and drafted Ty Lawson with the eighteenth pick in the same draft, only to trade him for a future first-round selection which was ultimately traded for Martell Webster. Stephen Curry set the all-time record for three-pointers made in a season this year, and Lawson has become a fringe All-Star point guard leading the Denver Nuggets.
In 2010, Kahn took Wesley Johnson with the fourth overall pick, passing up players that included Demarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe and Paul George. In 2011 he struck gold by trading for second-round selection Chandler Parsons, however ultimately selling him back to Houston for cash in Taylor’s wallet.
Taylor is expected to reach an agreement with former Timberwolves head coach and president Flip Saunders, who in nine and a half seasons as Wolves coach went 411-326 while guiding the team to eight consecutive playoff berths. The contract has not yet been finalized, but the deal is expected to run through the 2017-18 season and could be worth around $9 million over five years. Saunders is the franchises all-time winningest coach and will surely be an upgrade to Kahn as the 2013 NBA draft approaches. As it currently stands, the Timberwolves hold the 9th and 26th picks in the first round, although the draft lottery will provide the team a chance to move up from the 9th selection.
Kahn deserves his fair share of blame as there are no excuses for his failures during the draft. However, I do not believe that it is just to place 100% of the organization’s failings over the past four years solely on Kahn as he was limited by the tight budget and market for NBA basketball in Minnesota. Taylor has consistently limited Minnesota’s options whether it be in free agency or in hiring a coach, and it was not until recently that Taylor finally caved and reached into his pockets to hire a legitimate head coach in Adelman. While hiring Flip may not solve all of the organizations problems, it is a step in the right direction.