According to Jerry Zgoda's excellent T-Wolves blog at the Strib, the Wolves five month search for a new GM will finally end tomorrow- and thankfully, it's not going to be Fred Hoiberg, Jim Stack, or Kevin McHale. I know what you're thinking- YEAH RIGHT!! Former Indiana Pacers GM David Kahn is apparently the man for the job, and according to Zgoda, he is NOT obligated to keep McHale, Hoiberg, or Stack. Again, YEAH RIGHT!
For the three people that have been following this saga, the Wolves were all set to announce Blazers assistant GM Tim Penn as their new head man last week- until he pulled out, claiming the Blazers made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Penn was the third candidate to politely pull his name from the search, but this time, owner Glen Taylor is saying he really, truly, honestly, no doubt about it has his man- hopefully Kahn doesn't have second thoughts before tomorrow's press conference.
So is it a bad sign that the Wolves had to take their fourth choice? Sure, you could argue that "hey at least they didn't hire Hoiberg, Stack or McHale!", except that I don't believe for a second that any or all of those three aren't going to keep their jobs or stay with the organization in some capacity. Yep, Taylor claims that he's told Kahn, and all the other candidates who interviewed, that they would have full control of who they put on their staff, but to me, he's just crying wolf yet again about how he wants to make changes, but other than the coach, nothing ever changes.
Kahn has apparently been told he does not have to keep any of the former 600 First Avenue Country Club members if he doesn't want to, although he WILL keep that group together through the draft, since it'd be pretty tough to put a new staff together AND prep for the draft in the next five weeks. But there's every reason to believe that's not true at all. I mean, look at the Wolves GM position: ok so living through Minnesota winters probably isn't the most intriguing thing for an outsider, but this is still a really promising job with a lot of potential. You've got some excellent building blocks/trade chips in Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Randy Foye, and Mike Miller, as well as a slew of upcoming draft picks AND a ton of cap space opening up in the next couple of years. There is a LOT to like about this opportunity.
So why then, if Taylor is saying he's giving the new GM free reign, would three people who are currently NOT NBA GM's pass up this opportunity? Why? I don't care how good things are for Tom Penn in Portland, former Miami GM Randy Pfund, or Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey, none of those guys have a job as good as President of Basketball Operations for an NBA team. So unless they've got inside info and a shot at a better, more promising GM job down the road, WHY would four very smart, very qualified candidates pass up what looks to be a very good NBA job that is better than what they currently have?
Unless the job really isn't that good. Unless contrary to what Glen Taylor is telling the public, he's telling the candidates that they have to keep McHale if they want to come back, and that he's a big fan of Freddy Hoiberg and wants him to stay in the organization too. And while they're at, in these tough economic times, he also needs to find jobs for his good buddies Jim Stack and Rob Babcock.
Honestly, no other reason would make sense for three of these guys to back out unless they weren't be given the total control of the team Taylor says he's giving them.
So that's why I'm really skeptical that Kahn is going to clean house- not because he doesn't want to, but because he can't. McHale has turned out to be a pretty good coach, but his legacy here and the damage he's done and the shadow he casts would- or at least SHOULD- make anybody who takes the GM job kick McHale to the curb. Hoiberg doesn't have the horrible track record McHale does, but I'm sorry- I don't care how nice the guy is or how smart, if all he's learned has been with a Wolves organization that has proven over and over and over that they have no idea what they're doing, how can you expect Hoiberg to be different? If all you've learned and all you know is the wrong way to do things, why on God's green earth would you suddenly expect Hoiberg to start making smart basketball decisions?
Honestly, if you were starting a car company and you were going to hire an executive to run it, would you try to hire somebody from GM or Chrysler, or would you go with somebody from Toyota, Honda, or Mercedes Benz? Unless you're an idiot (or you know you're going to get billions of tax payer dollars no matter how badly you run your business), you're going to hire somebody from one of the successful foreign car companies. Sports is, and should be, the same way. Crappy teams need to hire people from successful franchises: in football I'd be after folks from the Patriots, Colts or Steelers, in hockey it'd be the Detroit Red Wings, and in baseball there's plenty of well-run teams like the Rays or Red Sox. In the NBA, you go after folks from the Spurs, Blazers, and Celtics, and to Taylor's credit, that's what he tried to do. But the fact he didn't just fire his entire staff and then be bold and go out and get the best person for the job tells me all I need to about how Taylor really conducted his search and what he's told his candidates. Because he's let his entire staff stay on (...and on...and on...and on...) and it took him SO long to find a new GM that the staff now has to stay until after the draft...well you do the math.
I hope I'm wrong, as since the Sonics were stolen from the good people of Seattle I'm looking for a team to cheer for. But Taylor has cried "Wolves!" too many times for me to trust that he's going to finally clean house and give his franchise the fresh start it deserves. I'll believe it when I see it.
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