Well, today should be a bit slower news day than yesterday. That is, of course, unless Kevin Love decides to drop any more bombs on his Twitter page. Let's pull a Donald Rumsfeld and run through a list of what we know, what we know we don't know, and what we don't know we don't know about the Kevin McHale decision:
What we know:
- David Kahn did this on his own
- He consulted with Glen Taylor on the matter last Friday
- He informed McHale of his decision on Tuesday night
- Kevin Love has an excellent Twitter page
- The new coaching search will begin immediately after the draft
What we know we don't know:
- What led to this decision being made before the draft?
- What led to this decision being made at all?
- Did Kahn force McHale's hand or was it the other way around?
- What sorts of coaching prospects will the team look at?
- Just how much additional house cleaning Kahn plans on doing
What we don't know we don't know:
- The nature of being
- Why Kool Aid doesn't make Oh Yeah! Orange Pineapple anymore
Feel free to add your own Rummyism in the comments. After a day to think about it, my thoughts on the matter are kind of mixed. On one hand, I think McHale has the goods to be an outstanding NBA coach. He is, as Kahn mentioned several times during the press conference, a fantastic communicator and he seemingly has a wonderful way with NBA ego management. We also know that he's a let's-take-care-of-it-in-practice kind of coach and I think that is the best way to handle things in a players' league. Say what you will about the importance of January or whether or not the team he put together has any promise, but McHale got solid improvement out of Al Jefferson, Randy Foye, and Kevin Love during the time at the end of the bench. There was promise there and it was a bird in the hand, not the bush. On the other hand, I had the feeling that McHale simply didn't have the makeup to properly adjust to the new responsibilities that being a coach, not a GM-type, entailed. He just seems like a stubborn ass in this department and I completely agree with Kahn's assessment that it would have been an uncomfortable fit for everyone involved to have McHale coach a team that, by all of Kahn's statements, will look very different from the vision the Iron Ranger had in mind.
This raises an important question: Wasn't this inevitable from the get-go? In a sense, it probably was, but I believe Kahn deserves a lot of credit for coming into a new situation, discarding any preconceived notions about McHale and the squad, and forming his own opinions and acting as he saw fit. Whether or not you agree with the outcome, this is what the majority of Wolves fans have been clamoring for during the past 5-6 years: A strong outside voice to come in with full authority to make changes as he sees fit.
I would have much rather seen this happen when Randy Wittman was tossed aside. However, all things considered, and taking into account the general dysfunction we Wolves fans have grown accustomed to over the years, the ends have to justify the means to a certain extent here from a fan perspective. I think Kahn has played the hand he was dealt as well as he possibly could up to this point. He could have, as he mentioned in his opening press conference, thrown McHale under the bus and made a quick decision to show everyone who the boss was, but instead he took his time and gathered enough information to make an informed decision...a decision that probably ended him up in the same place as where a rash one would have. In his case, and from his perspective, I'm glad to see that the means were emphasized more than the ends and that this club is starting to focus on processes, accountability, and a more sustainable and productive chain of command. Kahn said all the right things about McHale's basketball legacy in this state and he handled the situation with class and a professional process. That is a very encouraging sign from an organization that has made a habit of ending relationships poorly. Granted, we're only one day into the aftermath, but at this point it seems like Kahn has his ducks in a row on this matter.
As for McHale, I wish I could say that I had a stronger feeling about his departure but I don't. It should have happened such a long time ago that I'm almost fatigued thinking about the times where he should have been relieved of his duties but wasn't. I would much rather focus on the future. In this sense, and in the sense that McHale never really seemed to get that his own behavior brought much of this upon himself, I'm disappointed that such a great player's time comes to such a whimpering end. At this point, I'd much rather focus on the future of the club and worry about what they will do with their considerable assets going forward. Who will they draft? Who will they trade? Who will they bring in as a coach? This franchise has never had a controlled, process-oriented makeover in its entire history. McHale took over from Trader Jack in a non-traditional way. Flip and Casey both saw unceremonious endings and even the business with Witt wasn't exactly by-the-book. This, however, is. A new head of Basketball Operations came in and did what most people in his position do: Get rid of the old coach. As Wolves fans, I guess we're conditioned to look for the worst in things, but at the end of the day, this is going as smooth as it possibly could for a guy that was put in place a little more than a month before the draft. I really can't ask for anything more and I really can't wait to see what will happen in the next month or so. I'm also glad that the guy who said that Kevin Garnett tanked games near the end of his tenure is on radio silence with the matter. One of the things that has impressed me the most about Kahn so far is that he has the temperament of a political press secretary, and a feisty one at that. Over the years Papa Glen has often been too honest for his own good and it's nice to see the voice of the franchise finally in the hands of someone who knows how to give a politically correct version of the unfolding events. I'm not saying that Kahn is a weasel or a liar; rather, that he is more targeted and economical with the words that escape his lips. I do see how this could rub people the wrong way, and that some people will mistake him as something of a snake-oil salesman, but he clearly knows what he is doing on this front and that's a good thing.
That about does it. We'll get back to the Community Draft Board in the next post as well as getting around to talking about who should be the next Wolves coach. Unless something else happens, this will be our last post on the McHale business. What say you on the matter?