Kahn's choice for coach: Reputation vs. familiarity

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 22, 2009 - 5:52 AM

Who might be the next Timberwolves coach? Some of the possibilities are pondered.

Sam Mitchell

Photo: Tony Dejak, Associated Press

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David Kahn has offered two promising signs in his first month as Timberwolves' POBO/WB (President of Basketball Operations/Wrecking Ball).

He dismissed Kevin McHale, a necessary step for anyone wanting to run the Wolves without looking over their shoulder; and he kept owner Glen Taylor from hiring McHale as vice president in charge of summer golf.

This week, Kahn will preside over the Wolves' draft room, and we'll get more hints as to what his basketball philosophies might be. What might teach us more about him, though, is his choice of McHale's replacement.

With his coaching search, Kahn will indicate what he values. Familiarity? Accomplishment? Creative thinking? Reputation? Abject supplication?

He has a remarkable array of desirable candidates from whom to choose. We offer our list of candidates to the Kahn Man:

• Phil Jackson: If he really wants to prove he's the greatest coach in NBA history, let him try to win 40 games with this group.

• Mark Jackson: Played point guard for the Pacers when Kahn worked in Indianapolis. Would offer familiarity, a player's perspective and a magnetic personality, but isn't that how McHale wound up running the Wolves? Do we really want to try that again?

And do you really want to hire the second-best coaching candidate in one TV booth? (Jackson worked with Jeff Van Gundy on playoff broadcasts.)

• Michael Jackson: Just checking to see if you're still reading. Most people stop once they realize a column is about the Wolves.

• Mario Elie: If you want to hire a respected former player, why not go with a guy who bothered to train as a high-profile assistant coach?

• Sam Mitchell: My favorite candidate has no connections to Kahn. Kahn's reputation around the NBA is such that candidates with confidence they'll eventually get other offers might not want to come here.

• Jeff Van Gundy: Van Gundys don't so much coach as sing sideline arias. He knows his stuff and a stint in the TV booth might have smoothed his rough edges. Or not.

• Kevin McHale: You don't really think he's gone for good, do you? Haven't you seen "Halloween 17"? Or "Friday the 13th Part XXVI"?

• Quin Snyder: The former Duke player didn't win big at Missouri, but at least he cheated.

• Bill Laimbeer: Do we really think anyone, even a Bad Boy, can make a seamless transition from the WNBA to the NBA without having some kind of operation?

• Tom Thibodeau: A former Wolves assistant, he became a key contributor to the Celtics' 2008 title run. If the only knock on him is that he hasn't been a head coach before, he should be on the short list.

• Avery Johnson: Could we be this lucky? To get a guy who made it to the NBA Finals and is more entertaining than "The Real Housewives of Stearns County"?

• Dan Monson: The former Gophers coach has an aversion to eye contact. Coaching the Wolves at Target Center, he could always avoid foreign pupils by staring at the upper deck. Or the lower deck.

• Dwane Casey: Don't we owe the man an apology? Or a job?

• Ken Novak: Sure, he won at Hopkins. Can he win when he doesn't have the first pick in the draft every year?

• Mike Fratello: You ask why not. I ask: Why?

• Paul Silas: Yes, let's help another great former player ease his way to retirement.

• Jay Wright: A successful, personable and dynamic coach. Can't he do better than the Wolves?

• Genghis Khan: Would whip the Wolves into shape, but is unlikely to want to work for anyone as ruthless as David.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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