The Aftermath of Kahn

It was inevitable after another subpar season of professional basketball in Minneapolis: team president David Kahn is finally out of a job.

In honor of Kahn’s four years running (ruining?) the Timberwolves, I’ve compiled a list of his “greatest hits” with some help. Let’s get started:

May 22, 2009 — Kahn is hired. He fires head coach Kevin McHale nearly one month later.

June 24, 2009 — “The Wizards Trade”

Wolves give up

  • Guard Randy Foye
  • Guard Mike Miller

Wolves get

  • 2009 No. 5 overall pick (Ricky Rubio)
  • Etan Thomas
  • Darius Songaila
  • Oleksiy Pecherov

Analysis: Foye and Miller were dead in the water, and well worth the Rubio pick. It would have been nice to get more (anything) out of Thomas, Songaila and Pecherov, but YOLO.

June 25, 2009 — “The Legacy-Defining Draft”

  • No. 5 overall — Guard Ricky Rubio
  • No. 6 overall — Guard Jonny Flynn
  • No. 18 overall — Guard Ty Lawson
  • No. 28 overall — Guard Wayne Ellington
  • No. 45 overall — Guard Nick Calathes

Kahn trades rights to Ty Lawson to Denver in exchange for:

  • Protected first-round pick (Forward Luke Babbitt, No. 16 overall in 2010)

Analysis: This night will forever be Kahn’s legacy. He passed up Stephen Curry (future god) to draft Jonny Flynn (90 career starts, currently out of league), and then gave up the rights to Lawson (16.7/2.7/6.9 in 2012-13) for a future pick (Luke Babbitt) who was traded for Martell Webster. This sequence of events was horrible enough that Bill Simmons committed an entire column to it the other day.

Can you imagine a nucleus of Rubio, Curry, Love and Pekovic (Hell, maybe even Lawson coming off the bench)? I can’t even… I just… Ugh… Let’s move on.

August 8, 2009 — Kahn hires Kurt Rambis (career record: 32-132) to turn the franchise around. Yeah.

September 2, 2009 — Ricky Rubio signs a 6-year contract with FC Barcelona.

September 11, 2009 — Kahn signs guard Ramon Sessions to a 4-year, $16 million offer sheet. Sessions contributes 1 start in 1 season before being part of a trade for Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair.

February 17, 2010 — Kahn makes the following trade:

Wolves give up

  • Forward Brian Cardinal

Wolves get

  • Center Darko Milicic
  • “Cash”

Analysis: More on Darko in a bit.

April 13, 2010 — Kahn signs center Greg Stiemsma for the remainder of the season.


June 24, 2010 — “The Worst First Round of All-Time”

  • No. 4 overall — Forward Wes Johnson
  • No. 16 overall — Forward Luke Babbitt
  • No. 23 overall — Forward Trevor Booker

Analysis: Picking a 24-years-dead Len Bias with all three of these selections would have been preferable.

July 12, 2010 — Kahn re-signs center Darko Milicic to a 4-year, $20 million deal. Kahn refers to Milicic (career 6.0/4.2/0.9) as “manna from heaven.”

July 12, 2010 — “The Marijuana Trade”

Wolves give up

  • 2011 second-round pick (Forward Bojan Bogdanovic, No. 31 overall)
  • 2014 second-round pick
  • “cash considerations”

Wolves get

  • Forward Michael Beasley

Analysis: Beasley wasn’t a total sack of garbage (16.2 points/game), but he was a liability on defense and an insufferable ball-hog most of the time. It’s sad that the most memorable consequence of this trade was Kahn’s $50,000 fine for saying of Beasley, “He’s a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana…”

Hold your applause until the end, please.

July 13, 2010 — “The ‘Wow, That Didn’t Really Work Out’ Trade”

Wolves give up

  • Forward Al Jefferson

Wolves get

  • Protected 2011 first-round pick (Forward Donatas Motiejunas, No. 20 overall)
  • 2012 first-round pick (Forward Terrence Jones, No. 18 overall to Houston)
  • Forward Kosta Koufos

Analysis: This might have been worse than the haul Kevin McHale got for Kevin Garnett. Probably not, though. At least we can watch Big Al contend in Utah for 7 more seasons! Go Wolves!

July 14, 2010 — Kahn signs guard Luke Ridnour to a 4-year, $16 million contract. This is actually a solid move by Kahn. Wolves fans renew season ticket packages.

July 27, 2010 — Kahn finally signs 2008 second-round pick Nikola Pekovic. Heating up!!

September 10, 2010 — Kahn cuts Greg Stiemsma. Momentum crushed.

May 30, 2011 — Kahn finally signs 2009 first-round pick Ricky Rubio. There is a God.

June 23, 2011 — “The ‘There’s No Way to Screw This Up’ Draft”

  • No. 2 overall — Forward Derrick Williams
  • No. 20 overall — Forward Donatas Motiejunas

Analysis: A lot of stuff happened after those two picks. Motiejunas was traded away, a handful of other guys (including Chandler Parsons and Norris Cole) were in the Wolves’ clutches, and Kahn finally settled on the rights to Malcolm Lee and cash considerations.

Given the recent history of No. 2 selections, Derrick Williams’ slow development is not the worst luck in the world, but c’mon. You just know he’d already be a perennial All-Star for any other franchise.

September 13, 2011 — Kahn hires Rick Adelman (currently 57-91) to coach the Wolves. Props on the choice, but there’s a chance Adelman will retire before next season.

January 25, 2012 — Kahn re-signs star forward Kevin Love to a 4-year, $60 million contract extension with a fourth-year option for Love. The structure of this deal means a disgruntled Love (the second-best player in franchise history) might be shipped out of town as soon as this offseason.

July 12, 2012 — Kahn cuts Darko Milicic using the amnesty clause. The manna was stale, obvi.

July 24, 2012 — Kahn signs Russian guard Alexey Shved to a 3-year, $10 million deal. Very solid deal.

July 27, 2012 — Kahn signs forward Andrei Kirilenko to a 2-year, $20 million deal. Heating up!!

July 27, 2012 — “The ‘You Actually Had Faith in Kahn?’ Trade”

Wolves give up

  • Forward Wes Johnson
  • Protected first-round pick (Top-13 protected in 2013)

Wolves get

  • 2013 second-round pick (from New Orleans)
  • 2014 second-round pick (from Phoenix)
  • 2016 second-round pick (from New Orleans)

Analysis: Wow. Kahn ships his No. 4 pick from the 2010 draft and a future first-rounder for three second-rounders. This is the definition of efficiency. Just when I thought he was going to make three great moves in a row.

The good (bad) news is that his next move would’ve screwed up the streak, too.

July 31, 2012 — Kahn signs newly-unretired guard Brandon Roy to a 2-year, $10 million contract. He started 5 games this year before his bum knee began to act up, and will probably never play again.

August 2, 2012 — Kahn signs Greg Stiemsma again.


Unfortunately, the Wolves suffered a terrible rash of injuries this season and flailed to a 31-51 record without Kevin Love. If they had played to their potential (40+ wins and a playoff appearance), Kahn would probably still have his job.

As it stands, the Minnesota Timberwolves have not made the playoffs since the 2003-2004 season. EVERY SINGLE other team in the league has been in the playoffs since then. Even the damn Bobcats.

One could say that it’s been a fun ride with David Kahn on top of the Wolves’ food chain. One could also be a sick, sick bastard.

The evidence is clear: Kahn’s exile is almost four years overdue.


One response to “The Aftermath of Kahn

  1. Pingback: April 2013 In Review: The Best of TNA | The New Anthem·

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