Back by popular demand; okay, for my Mom and Dad, we have again raided the Star Tribune mail room and dusted off letters sent to former long-time columnist Dan Barreiro:
Dear Dr. Dan: As an original Timberwolves season-ticket holder, I am contemplating not renewing my tickets for the first time. But I want to believe. I recently got a letter in the mail from grand poohbah David Kahn. In it, he says: We're seeing growth in young players such as Kevin Love and Jonny Flynn, both of whom were selected to play in the Rookie/Sophomore game at All-Star Weekend this year. We see validation by Al Jefferson's and Kevin Love's selection to Team USA a few weeks back. We also continue to make decisions that improve our team over the long haul --from the upcoming draft, where we may have up to three first-round picks, to clearing cap space so that we have maximum flexibility in this year's free agency market, to building a coaching staff that has collected 15 championship rings.The bandwagon has put on its left blinker and is leaving the curb. This is our way of demonstrating how much we want you on it.
Should I leave the curb with them?
B. Beise, Minneapolis
Dear Mr. Beise: Dr. Dan is enjoying a quiet weekend with his wonderful wife and a big bowl of Bruegger's Chicken Spaetzle Soup, so Dr. Darren is filling in.
Even though we've seen enough of the Kahn commercials, and he uses too many big words for our liking, he has a chance to make the Wolves a playoff contender in two seasons. We're not sure that citing Flynn in his letter was the right move given Flynn's plus-minus rating of minus 572, the worst on the team by over 100 points. He is miscast in the triangle offense, even though he can clearly do some good things with the ball. Even more troubling, though, is his defense. Kahn said last summer that Flynn had all-defensive team skills. That is certainly not the case.
If the Wolves get lucky in the draft lottery and land the first or second overall pick, the plan will become more clear. Kentucky's John Wall reminds me of Dwyane Wade and Ohio State's Evan Turner reminds me of Brandon Roy. Of the two, Wall will be the better pro, but, like Flynn, is not made for the Triangle offense.
The $13 million of cap space is intriguing, but will any meaningful free agent have an interest in coming here? It may be used in a trade. One way or another, it has to be used somehow to bring in someone uber-talented (Rudy Gay?). So go ahead and leave the curb with them for now, but re-evaluate post-July.
Dear Dr. Dan: My wife would rather be somewhere else, the practice facility that I so richly deserve, and was promised to me, is at best two years from becoming a reality, and Nike head-honcho Phil Knight is willing to give me a Brinks truck to come to Oregon. Should I go? And while we have your attention, should I allow Royce White back onto the team if he wants to play?
O. Smith, Minneapolis
Dear Mr. Smith: At 58-years-old, your next landing spot will likely be your last job. Even with a brand-new arena, do you want that to be in Eugene, Oregon? Really, we see you at North Carolina State a year from now after former Timberwolves coach Sidney Lowe is dismissed. Between you and your wife, you have family in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. With your dream job, Maryland, not opening anytime soon, the Wolfpack makes the most sense to us.
As for White, do you really want to welcome back someone who quit on you? That being said, you lack a go-to scorer and a good individual rebounder, two areas where White could excel. Our society constantly grants second chances (heck, even Elin appears to be giving Tiger a second chance) so, yes, for the sake of winning an NCAA tournament game before you leave, take him back.
Dear Dr. Dan: Not that I can relate, but how much equity did Gophers hockey coach Don Lucia build from winning those back-to-back national titles?
D. Woog, South St. Paul
Dear Mr. Woog: Next year, the Frozen Four is in St. Paul. The pressure will be immense to not miss the NCAA tournament for a third straight year. If Lucia does, even with one year remaining on his contract, athletic director Joel Maturi will be forced to make a move. At that point, former Gophers player and assistant Dean Blais can take over.
Dear Dr. Dan: I was given a contract extension but, after looking it over, it means nothing. My job is on the line this season. Spring practice is underway. Who should be my starting quarterback?
T. Brewster, Shorewood
Dear Mr. Brewster: You were last in the Big Ten in yards, points per game, and touchdowns last year, but we are advising you to stick with the incumbent, Adam Weber. Last fall, Weber had almost as many incompletions as completions, and threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13), but new offensive coordinator Jeff Horton, with a good track record of developing quarterbacks, should help. The first move for Horton should be to allow Weber to go back to his old throwing motion. If Weber doesn't play well early, the job is wide open.
Dear Dr. Dan: Deep-down, I still bleed New York Giant blue, so I can't eventually allow a former Philadelphia Eagle onto my team, can I?
Z. Wilf, Short Hills, N.J.
Dear Mr. Wilf: It seems that it is a matter of when, not if, quarterback Brett Favre will announce that he is coming back for one more season. But then what? You don't believe that your in quarterback in 2011 (assuming there isn't a lockout) is currently on your roster, do you?
Donovan McNabb will be traded somewhere in the next few weeks; maybe to Oakland, who apparently is willing to take him without a contract extension in place. McNabb is a free agent after the season. He plays for the Raiders and, like all superstar players, will then control his own situation. He wants to play for you, coach Brad Childress and quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers, so why not let it happen? You can sign him as a free agent, or trade a middle-round pick if the Raiders attempt to use the franchise tag, and have your quarterback for at least three seasons.