What the Hell, David Kahn?

Bill Simmons' personal nemesis/ fellow sportswriter.

There’s only one word appropriately aggravating enough for what I’m about to write… KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHN!

A paid analyst over at NBA Fanhouse actually suggested Tuesday that an avocado could run a franchise better than Minnesota Timberwolves’ GM David Kahn.

Well we all know that avocados can’t survive apart from tropical climates, let alone run a professional basketball team. But I see what Tom Ziller is getting at: namely, Kahn is a laughably incompetent executive doing his damnedest to destroy the NBA in Minneapolis.

One can bank on fresh impetus for such strong remarks roughly once every seven days, so I could’ve chosen to write my WTF? post a week ago when Kahn signed all 5 points, 4 boards of Darko Milicic to a 4-year deal. But I just assumed throwing $20 million at the biggest bust in NBA history would’ve gotten him fired by now… Nobody wants to beat a dead horse.

A lean, mean, bench-warming machine.

Fortunately for the sake of high comedy (/unfortunately for Minny’s collective emotional welfare), David Kahn survived another Tuesday, in which time he traded the most talented player left on his roster for two heavily protected future draft picks and, ironically, an avocado.

Al Jefferson, whose spot will now be filled by the aforementioned Darko, was shipped to Utah Tuesday for Memphis’s 2011 first-rounder (which can’t crack the top 9) and Utah’s 2011 first-rounder (which won’t be in the lottery because, um, the Jazz just landed a 25-year-old All-Star caliber power forward to pair with the best point guard in the NBA).

What makes this move all the more mindf*cking is that Kahn justified it by saying with a straight face that he needed to free up minutes for Darko.

(*shakes head* –> *hides sharp objects in case fan of common sense in building* –> *screams into pillow*)

I’d relay experts’ reactions to the AJ for Darko swap (C’mon son/mind-numbing stupefication/human victory cigar), but I don’t want to hea…

Okay fine. Here’s my favorite:

The deal for Milicic is extraordinary considering in February he wasn’t playing and said he was giving up the NBA to return to Europe. ~ Chad Ford, ESPN

Seriously, Kahn? SERIOUSLY? I mean, I don’t know what’s more of a red flag: having a potential front court of all white guys or the fact that the Wolves have successfully purged themselves of every single player acquired in the Kevin Garnett deal.

Some have suggested that Jefferson, who backed up an injury-shortened 23-11 ’08-09 with an ACL-recuperating 17-1o campaign, was cranky in Minnesota and couldn’t get along with fellow power forward Kevin Love – that his DUI in February was the last straw.

Jefferson: The happiest man in America.

I swallowed that argument right up until Kahn traded for pot-fiend/headcase/Spongebob enthusiast Michael Beasley. That guy was an asylum candidate surrounded by beautiful Latin women and one of the best players in the league. You’re telling me 12-degree Decembers and 60 losses helps his psyche?

It’s still unclear whether Kahn understands the fundamental objective of basketball (i.e. winning) or whether he’s simply been drunk for the last two years. This offseason doesn’t go far in clearing things up. After entering the free-agent signing period with cap room aplenty, he sunk $13 mill into 24-year-old Serbian prospect Nikola Pekovic and then double-downed on underachieving, Euro 7-footers hours later.

Kahn’s burned all but $5 million of the team’s remaining purse on the likes of castoffs, no-names and Martell Webster and will look to spend the rest on somebody that can take the Wolves to the next level. Possibly Brian Scalabrine, if he’s still available.

Not one to (intentionally) pile on, I’d like to give the man’s work a chance to speak for itself. Here are all of his transactions I didn’t mention.

Via Matt O’Brien at SB Nation…


  • Traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye for the 5th pick in the 2009 Draft
  • Drafted Ricky Rubio (a point guard) 5th overall, who has refused to play for Minnesota
  • Drafted Jonny Flynn (another point guard) 6th overall, passing on the consensus better player in Stephen Curry
  • Drafted Ty Lawson (another point guard) 18th overall, traded him to the Nuggets for a future first-rounder
  • Drafted Nick Calathes (another point guard) 45th overall, who went overseas to play in Greece before the T’Wolves traded his rights to the Mavs for a future second-rounder
  • Signed Ramon Sessions  (another point guard) to a four-year, $16 million deal
  • Signed Sasha Pavlovic (not a point guard!) to a one-year deal
  • Traded Jason Hart (another point guard) for Alando Tucker…who was subsequently waived
  • Traded Brian Cardinal for THE Darko Milicic
  • Drafted Wes Johnson (a small forward) fourth overall in 2010, passing on the much better and much younger Demarcus Cousins
  • Traded the 16th pick to the Blazers for Martell Webster (another small forward)
  • Drafted Lazar Hayward (another small forward) with the 30th pick


I hope you caught those first few – Kahn essentially gave away Mike Miller and Randy Foye for the Chance In Hell to land PG Ricky Rubio, then spent his next three draft picks on point guards who either didn’t want to play in Minnesota (i.e. “pulled a Rubio”) or were talented enough to be shipped elsewhere… (or, admittedly, were drafted for other teams/trade partners)

In a your-kidding-Hilson turn of events, Minny signed free agent POINT GUARD Luke Ridnour to a 4-year, $16 million deal over the course of this very post.

It’s easy to blame the Wolves’ owner. It’s easy to say, “Well this is what happens when you hire a sportswriter to do a Jerry West’s job.” But being an amateur sportswriter myself, I genuinely feel that I could outdo David Kahn. Or at the very least, best an avocado.

– Robbie


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5 responses to “What the Hell, David Kahn?

  1. Kyle

    I actually thought his trade for Beasley was a no-brainer. A super buy low move, if Beasley doesn’t work out, that’s a few 2nd round picks no one will really miss. But dude was 2nd overall pick like, yesterday or something. Still young with a ton of upside.

    Having said that, how in the hell did he trade his (far and away) best player? Not only is Jefferson the cornerstone, but he was the centerpiece of the KEVIN GARNETT deal.


    On a semi-related note, Kahn just really helped my fantasy basketball team. Jefferson is one of my holdovers in a keeper league.

    Thanks, Big Dave!

    • Good point with Beasley, though having followed him vicariously through a couple friends/hard-core Heat fans (of which their are exactly 6), I can tell you that they thought he was 1) lazy 2) an underachiever 3) borderline nuts and 4) on drugs. Nobody down here blinked an eye when they swapped him for peanuts.

      I like Kevin Love, too. Probably b/c he’s white. Kudos to your fantasy team.

      • Kyle

        Yeah I think South Beach might have been a bad place for him. He’s unfocused and there’s a lot of shit to do in Miami.

        What’s that? You say he’s got a ton to do in Minnesota, too? Oh yeah, my bad.

        Seriously though, if the dude can’t focus and be non-douchey in Minneapolis, then I think it just wasn’t in the cards. But he chose to go to Kansas State, so perhaps he likes being in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do.

        I too like Kevin Love, probably for the whiteness. The goatee helps, because it says, “Hey, I’m white, but look at this mustache!”

        Also, did I mention he’s white? Now they have two legit white guys with him and Ridnour.

  2. Matt

    You really have to wonder how people like Kahn and Matt Millen, rest in piece, got there job. The only teams the help are the divison rivals for making there team that much easier to beat.

    On a different note, the mind f*cking was a nice touch. Always enjoy your writing.

    • Thanks a lot, Matt. And I agree with you wholeheartedly. Is ownership just not paying attention? It’s like, “We’ll give him one more chance… Ok, one more…. Ok, one more” and five years later, they’re firing the guy and starting from scratch. (See Lions, Detroit; Clippers, LA)

      When you hire a guy like Kahn or Chris Wallace out in Memphis, do you really expect him to compete with the likes of Mitch Kupchak or Pat Riley? I guess the short answer is “yes”… At which point you end up with three of the league’s best players on one team.

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