Darren "Doogie" Wolfson

Darren "Doogie" Wolfson has a passion for sports, but not a consistent forum in which he's allowed to spew his thoughts. Well, now he has one. Darren spent 12-plus years with KFAN Radio, wearing multiple hats - from producing and technically directing, to reporting and hosting. He spent a majority of his time working with Sid Hartman's son, Chad on the 'Chad Hartman Show.' Read more about Darren Wolfson.

Posts about Wolves management

Ricky (Rubio) Business is Risky Business

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: March 28, 2011 - 10:17 PM

Let me try this: "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there... with Ricky Rubio in a Wolves uniform!"

If only it were that simple. But, as Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn has said for months, Rubio will be here this summer. When asked by the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda in late January, Kahn said he remains "absolutely" certain that Rubio will be here very soon.
My initial thought is: what else should Kahn say? The truth is that team executives lie to us a lot. Think of the many times you've heard "They are the best team we've seen this year or [insert coach's name here]'s job is safe." Look at what new Arkansas basketball coach Mike Anderson said as recently as March 17: "I'm staying at Missouri, and that's the bottom-line."
But when Kahn continually states "absolutely," he couldn't be more certain. And when the Wolves recently used a radio spot promoting early deals on season tickets for next year, they voiced the line "More Rubio sightings." They are not hiding the idea that they are very sure that he is coming.
Because he has to make a decision before July 1 -- the presumed start of a lockout -- is one reason the Wolves believe that Rubio will be here. Keep in mind that he will have to reportedly pay $900,000 of his $1.4 million buyout. And if the lockout lasts for a lengthy period, he could lose money in the short-term and, more importantly, miss out on a key developmental period because there will be no interaction with the coaches, no summer league games/practices, a potentially shorter training camp, etc.
In a recent interview with Spanish sports publication Marca, Rubio was quoted as saying, "If I had to leave (Barcelona) at any time, I would talk to the club and the NBA franchise, which is currently Minnesota." A senior member of Rubio's camp -- his agent, Dan Fegan? Hmmm -- said in January to the New York Times: "The bottom line is, why would he want to play in Minnesota? He’ll continue to say all the diplomatic things, and Minnesota needs to keep his value up for trade purposes, but the family’s preference is to be on the East Coast, specifically New York, Miami or Boston. He wouldn’t be troubled if he has to stay another year.”
But then on Monday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Rubio has informed the Wolves that he is open to coming before next season. So, who's bluffing? What’s true, and what’s not? We don't know, and that's the problem. Based on his public comments, albeit mostly to the Spanish media who have a biased interest, Rubio has never definitively said that he will sign with the Wolves this summer, but he's also never said that he doesn't want to be in Minnesota. In other words, we have no idea what is going to happen. So why are the Wolves so confident? Obviously, they have to spend a lot of time talking to Rubio, but is it dangerous for them to take him at face-value? For the sake of maintaining his trade value, is there any other option besides confidently stating that he will be here? Does that even matter when multiple teams would presumably make offers for him if he's made available?
If the current collective bargaining agreement rookie stipulations continue, it will make financial sense for Rubio to stay in Spain for one more year because he wouldn't be tied to the rookie salary scale starting with the '12-'13 NBA season; thus, he could sign a larger first contract. Logic suggests that won't be the case with the new CBA, but Rubio might be willing to roll the dice.
Just like the day the Wolves drafted him, it just seems that there are more questions than answers about his future.
"State Farm is there... with protection from our ticket-buying fanbase backlash!" might eventually have to be Kahn's next public statement.

Still wondering, will David (Kahn) become Goliath?

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: January 9, 2011 - 1:08 PM

While a beer controversy ensues at Seattle's Qwest Field that has a sports nation captivated -- the fact-finder clearly deserves consideration for a Pulitzer prize -- I'm wondering if: a) it's time to compliment Packers fans for their uncanny ability to sneak alcohol into Lambeau field; b) how much heat does Gophers hockey coach Don Lucia deserve for changing the Mariucci Classic rules on the fly; and c) would the 76ers trade Evan Turner for Wesley Johnson? In order of importance, "C" is No. 1.

I've said this before: he's not the most interesting man in the world, but David Kahn, the Wolves' president of basketball operations, is still fascinating.
Nevertheless, he's losing me little by little. On Monday's Wolves-Celtics telecast, Kahn said that center Darko Milicic could be a future All-Star. Well, I could be a future Chippendales dancer. Even worse, he told Blazers beat reporter Jason Quick that point guard Jonny Flynn could also be a future All-Star. Where . . . in the Developmental League?
Kahn takes too much heat for choosing Flynn over Golden State's Stephen Curry. Curry's agent made it known that Curry would not play in Minnesota, so I can see why Kahn was fearful. Where Kahn missed was passing on Toronto's Demar Derozan, who could co-exist with point guard Ricky Rubio (if he ever comes). He also swung-and-missed on the idea that point guards Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, Darren Collison, and Rodrigue Beaubois weren't as good as Flynn. Even if Flynn is being held back in coach Kurt Rambis' offense, which he is, he's not better than any of the aforementioned players.
So, after seven first-round picks in the last two years, and an Al Jefferson trade, here's where we stand: the Wolves are back where they were in 2008. Of those seven picks, who impresses? We have no idea when, or if, Rubio will be here. Financially, it makes more sense for Kahn to wait. At 23-years-old, will Wes Johnson get a whole lot better, or is he being used wrong by Rambis? Wayne Ellington? Lazar Hayward? They inspire nothing.
Where's the hope? Where's the belief that this isn't the most helpless franchise in the Western Conference? Long-term, give me a guard and a big -- Sacramento's Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins -- over Wolves forwards Kevin Love and Michael Beasley. It all lies with Kahn. Even with collective bargaining agreement uncertainty, I'm very curious to see what Kahn can accomplish before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He has a ton of cap space.
According to league sources, he's trying hard to do something. He was recently turned down in an attempt to land Houston's Aaron Brooks. CBSSports.com has them inquiring about Memphis' O.J. Mayo. Kahn feels most comfortable negotiating with New York boss Donnie Walsh, his former colleague in Indiana. Who else is Kahn trying to deal with? More importantly, who will he ultimately land?
You can only cling to that cap space flexibility for so long. The Wolves haven't won more than 33 games since the '05-'06 season. As anyone who was at Target Center for Friday night's shellacking can attest to, it's an apathetic fan base. The few games that are on local television generate miniscule ratings. The team's best player, Love, recently told SI.com, "We'll see what happens with what David Kahn and the front office want to do. If it's right, it's right. If it's not, it's not. I could end up somewhere else. I just want to play for a team that wants to win at this point. At this point, I just want to win now."
As a die-hard hoops fan, I want the Wolves to be relevant. Kahn can only "slow play" his assets for so long. The Beasley move has worked. Not much else has. It's time to see more results.

The Great Wall of Kentucky or Evan Almighty?

Posted by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson Updated: March 27, 2010 - 11:44 PM

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. 



Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters