A wise rabbi once said: "Listen Effectively." Those words did not come from Rabbi Robert Kahn - formerly of Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park and brother of Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn - but they easily could have.
A recent poll at startribune.com indicated that roughly 80 percent of voters prefer for Kevin McHale to not return as head coach. I'm surprised that the number wasn't higher, but it still speaks volumes. McHale's dirty fingerprints are all over this franchise.
It's time for Kahn to cut the chord. McHale is being treated as if he were Phil Jackson or John Wooden. He can motivate the players - so can many others. He doesn't have a playbook or even design plays in-game. That responsibility fell last season to assistant Jerry Sichting. I am struggling to come up with even one semi-plausible reason to retain him.
There's no need for a third meeting. McHale's body of work - or lack thereof - speaks for itself. These sitdowns are a waste of time. Kahn said he'll take his time with the McHale decision and may not hire a coach, whether that person is McHale or not, until after the draft. That is the wrong approach. A coach needs to be in place beforehand so you know what kind of style of play to draft around. Doing your due diligence on the draft and hiring a coach can be done simultaneously. Call Sam Mitchell. Kahn and Mitchell were together briefly in Indiana. Mitchell proved in Toronto that he can coach.
Owner Glen Taylor reportedly asked at least one candidate for Kahn's job to undergo detailed psyhcological testing. Some serious research would need to be done on Kahn if McHale is back.
At Kahn's introductory news conference two weeks ago, after Taylor was done acting like Chris Matthews for 20 minutes by saying nothing, the former Pacers GM came off as extremely well-spoken and likable....except on one point....when he talked about being at Target Center for the game against the Nuggets in early April and watched the team play very hard for McHale. It's very easy to come up with 10 or so games in which that sort of effort wasn't there in February and March. But I really liked, among other things, how Kahn noted that he does have final say, and ultimately will call the final shot, as opposed to the committee approach from the last year or two.
Even though Taylor lost out on more qualified candidates Dennis Lindsey, Randy Pfund, and Tom Penn, I felt good about my favorite NBA team heading into the Memorial Day weekend. Now, with McHale possibly coming back, I'm not so sure.