Wolves, our blog taking a break
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- April 23, 2011 - 6:40 PM
Just like Kevin Love did, Wolves boss David Kahn hustled back from Los Angeles in time for Love's Most Improved Player presentation at Target Center on Thursday and then both were scheduled to take the same flight back home to Portland that night.
While briefly back in Minnesota, Kahn made it clear he hasn't met with Kurt Rambis, doesn't have any immediate plans to do so and gave the impression that he'd be very methodical in making a decision about the team's coaching future.
So this could take awhile.
While it takes its course, I'll be taking some time off and the blog postings here will be more infrequent than usual, unless there's news.
So before I go, what exactly is going on here?
Here are some possibilities.
* As Rambis' agent Warren LeGarie maintains it is, this could be simply your typical pause after a long, tough season for an organization to evaluate, as teams do all the time to ensure they don't make rash, emotional decisions before they continue on as usual.
Nothing more, nothing less.
* Kahn's mantra that the just-completed 17-victory season absolutely, positively cannot happen again mandates that things must change.
He maintains that there will be no more major rebuilding of the roster, only some necessary adjustments, so if the Wolves stay that course from where's that change going to come?
Well, young players' slow but hopefully eventual maturity and development, for two things.
But also...could Kahn's odd press conference on the season's final day be a call for Rambis to go home to L.A. for awhile and think about how he and his coaching can change?
If Rambis returns with the promise that things will change, the Wolves probably will bring in new assistant coaches, including a defensive specialist . The Wolves obviously were atrocious defensively last season and change starts there, as well as probably an adaptation and simplification of Rambis' complex offense as well as better communication with players.
* The anticipated upcoming labor lockout that Kahn and every other NBA executive has been told not to discuss presumably gives the Wolves time, perhaps lots and lots of time to think about who else they could hire.
So...with Rambis under contract for two more seasons are Kahn and the Wolves simply waiting for the playoffs to play out, for coaches to leave or be fired by their current teams before they see whether somebody unexpected is looking for work.
Or whether somebody who might not be interested in the Wolves job now could be later when the music stops and all the chairs are otherwise filled.
That somebody, if hired, would be a more emotional, fiery guy than Rambis.
Here's one name I'll just throw against the wall from each category:
* Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. Who knows what Mark Cuban will do if the Mavs' playoffs end prematurely. Carlisle has ties to both Kahn from his Indiana days and assistant GM Tony Ronzone from his Detroit days.
* Former Cleveland coach Mike Brown, who probably isn't "get-able" now but could be if such teams as Boston, Orlando, Miami and the Lakers change coaches and he's still looking for a job.
Or maybe even Kahn's mentor from way back in UCLA days, Larry Brown, who also has ties with Ronzone from their time in Detroit.
A guy such as former Houston coach Rick Adelman probably would want to tackle this kind of rebuilding job at his age.
* And there's always the possibility that things are on hold while Glen Taylor analyzes everything, although Taylor told CBSSports.com's Ken Berger at last week's league meetings in New York City that he's decided Kahn will be back but was taking time to evaluate Rambis.
Taylor hasn't returned phone calls this week.
And two other things:
* Kahn, Ronzone and other Wolves staff are headed to Europe at the end of the month to visit European draft prospects Nemana Bjelica, Henk Norel, Paulao Prestes and, yes, probably Ricky Rubio. They'll probably also see Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic while there.
* Love accepting his MIP award on Thursday was the finishing touch to a transformational season, but the Wolves need to be careful here when it comes time to negotiate a contract extension next fall.
Granted, everything could change with a new CBA, but Zach Randolph's recent four-year, $66 million extension and David Lee's six-year, $80 million contract last summer set a high bar for a player whose agent surely will recite his rebounding title, 30/30 game stats and 53-game double-double streak.
Love was the beacon in a season that otherwise sure didn't shine much, but his stats are overstated because of the season's sorry circumstances.
He's certainly not a better player or worth more than LaMarcus Aldridge, who signed a five-year, $65 million extension with Portland a year ago.
An interesting storyline when the time comes: Love's agent is Jeff Schwartz, who negotiated the five-year, $65 million extension Al Jefferson signed with the Wolves in 2007. Jefferson agreed to the offer just before the October deadline passed even though Schwartz urged him to wait for a bigger, better offer.
That's all for now.
As I said, I'm taking some time off but either I or Kent Youngblood will be back with newsy updates as warranted.
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