FanPost

The real reason McHale's future uncertain?


I don't know if many, or any, Hoopus readers ever visit Minnpost.com, but they have a great collection of reporters and columnists over there, including many of the too-expensive castoffs from the Strib and PiPress. One of those is the venerable Steve Aschburner who covered the Wolves for the Strib for a long time before leaving for SI (might be ESPN, can't remember) before returning to MN. Anyways, I've always thought that Steve wrote great stuff and didn't always pander to the team, so I am inclined to believe (moreso than less) what he wrote today regarding McHale's future with the team and the decision to hire Kahn:

 

"[T]here is another dynamic at work, insiders say, involving the team's power structure."

Insiders will tell you that the decision to stay away has been McHale's choice as much as Kahn's or anyone else's in Wolves management. Kahn acknowledged to me Wednesday afternoon that he and McHale have been "circling" each other — he didn't even quibble with the word — in meeting twice so far, without conclusion, to decide if McHale will be back. After all, what worked for McHale and Taylor when the big guy was VP of basketball ops — a handshake deal, annual ponderings whether he should continue — won't work as an NBA head coach.

Those 30 positions require contracts, at far heftier salaries ($3 million annually and up), with time horizons that make it clear to the players in the locker room that the coach is going to be around beyond this season or this week. Or, at least, management has a financial incentive to keep the coach around beyond this season or this week. That McHale doesn't have that protection from the Wolves — along with the assurance that money coming free under the salary cap will be spent on roster improvements rather than backfilling for the owners' losses — makes it understandable that he wouldn't be committing to the Wolves before they similarly commit to him.

But there is another dynamic at work, insiders say, involving the team's power structure. Rob Moor, one of Taylor's sons-in-law, is the Wolves' heretofore low-profile, low-impact "CEO." He has been taking a more prominent role lately, however, to the point of spearheading the ostensible GM search that led to Kahn's hiring to a loftier title. Moor's power — or at least hands-on activities — has been expanding. And this is in contrast to most previous years, when the basketball side was run by McHale, Saunders and others almost as an independent fiefdom, with a direct line up to Taylor. Moor rarely had any traction internally with that crowd.

 

There's more reasoning (and prefacing), but that is the gist of Steve's article. I have to admit to not knowing much about Moor at all--or his role with the team. If what Aschburner is suggesting is true, then it might help explain why a '2 week process' turned into a 5+ week one, and why many of the candidates might have turned them down despite Glen Taylor swearing that they would have complete control over the FO and McHale's return. If Moor wanted more power, and Lindsey et al realized that they would either be working for--or have to work through--Moor, then even their supposed full authority over basketball operations would have strings attached.

 

Aschburner ends by suggesting that McHale get an opportunity to return as HC as well as making an ominous observation:

If McHale doesn't get [the opportunity to return as HC], some fans will delight in the outcome, thanks to past failings in a different role. But it will be a decision made for the wrong reasons, a knack this franchise already has shown way too often.
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