The latest talking point coming out of 600 First Avenue is that the Wolves are now positioned to be players in the post-CBA landscape of the NBA. I am not quite sure if this would be the 8th or 9th window of opportunity since David Kahn wrote to fans about a 17 month plan with 5 windows some 20 months and 6 or 7 windows ago. As if it wasn't obvious before, it should be now: he's making it up as he goes along and he doesn't know what he's doing. There's nothing you or I or anyone not named Glen Taylor can do about it.
More thoughts below the fold.
For the sake of simply keeping record of what the team does, let's examine the newest story that the team uses to sucker people into buying tickets to a crappy product.
The team is currently on the books for $43.7 mil in 2011/12. This is for 12 players, including Jonny Flynn. Assuming that the team will draft 2 players and that they'll do everything they can to trade Flynn, they should end up with 13 players and about $45 mil heading into the free agency period after the draft.
The Wolves are currently asking their fans to believe that the uncertainty of the post-CBA NBA world will place the low-salaried Wolves in a position to take on big contracts from teams that have to cut money to make it under a lower luxury tax or a hard cap. They are also asking their fans to believe that the team may make moves on draft day, which is the day this year's contract structure officially goes out of business. They want you to believe that the team who wouldn't add a penny of additional salary at the trade deadline because of an unknown post CBA structure will take on millions of additional salary on draft day with a still unknown post CBA structure. In more simple terms, the Wolves won't add to the $54-56 mil they currently have on the books right now because the hard cap could be below that number in the aftermath of the new CBA, but they will do so on the draft day before the hard cap could be below the same number.
Right. OK, whatever.
The saddest part about today's deadline wasn't the additional notch in Kahn's never-ending bullshit belt; rather, it was the fact that the team provided yet another example that it is locked in a death spiral of bad finances and bad management. They need to get good in order to make money but they need to spend money in order to get good. Whether or not Glen Taylor has closed the wallet because of Kahn's incompetence or because his partners are refusing capital calls is irrelevant. What matters is that the team was targeting Raja Bell and Aaron Brooks because they would be in deals that would not cost the team any cold hard cash.
Papa Glen, for all of his obvious faults as an owner, is right to not want to let a man who has shown nothing in the way of being able to assemble real NBA talent spend any more of his money. He may as well throw some darts at a board or put some numbers on a bunch of marbles and play Hungry-Hungry-Hippo to run the Draft instead of handing things over to Kahn. Why on earth would he let this guy make a multi-million dollar trade?
Anywho, technically, the Wolves can still make use of their cap space. In reality, and in practice, does anyone still believe that they will? Not this guy. I've accepted that they're just going to pull the football away and I'm not going to take another run at it.
The only tinge of emotion I have about this team right now is of regret. I don't like being played for a fool and that's the only thing I think they've done to their fans over the past 5-6 years. I feel stupid for investing so much time and energy into following them. Honestly, the only thing that keeps me from completely walking away is this community and a morbid curiosity to see just how bad it can possibly get with a guy like Kahn in charge of the whole operation.
Here are some thoughts from a few remaining diehards:
I think I’ve hit rock bottom with this team. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere, but I feel completely bereft. This squad has nothing going for it. At all. Terrible ownership, lousy management and coaching. Even ignoring the years of badness before the arrival of Kahn and Rambis, it’s a complete disaster. Not one good starter added since Kahn’s reign of error began.
Exactly one (1) good player (let’s not kid ourselves at this point; Love is it. Beasley is exactly what he has been, which isn’t very good).
And what’s the future? Another high pick in a bad draft, which Kahn has proven inept at anyway, then Clippergeddon. Theoretical cap space that is essentially gone now, an owner who shows no inclination to spend, a beaten down fanbase, an organization that has no appeal to free agents for good reason. Another trade deadline, another big nothing, except yet one more reclamation project. At some point that ceases to be interesting strategy and becomes destructive fetish. We are there, friends.
The problems seem insurmountable. Even the luck of the lottery cannot save this franchise. They are the new old Clippers. They are a laughing stock.
But, they are my team and so I tune in and watch 20 minutes (all I can bear) of horrible basketball every now and then.
It’s like gambling…the joy of losing, knowing in advance that you will lose, and you still play. I hate gambling.
I’m done. I was excited to start the season, especially for the potential a young team and cap space represented, but as of now the organization has proven that it absolutely does not know what it’s doing.
We need a new owner. Whether or not a new owner will keep the team here is beyond me, though.
There are plenty more (here's a good fan post). I have emails, DMs, IMs, phone calls, texts....90% of it is in the same direction: the remaining die-hards have all heard the ticket pitches. We've all heard someone from the team talk about cap space and draft picks and...well, the team has a guy who doesn't (or can't) do anything with any of it.
I want to be mad but I can't. I've accepted that this team will say whatever and do whatever and while it has fantastic people in marketing, PR, community relations, radio, TV, and working at the arena, the people in the front office have zero respect for the fan base. The owner cannot get out of his own way and he has found himself in a death spiral of doom. It sucks.
Here's Chris Wright from a year ago:
#4 ME: David Kahn has laid out a vision of how the next three years will go. With one year almost on the books, how do you see his plan working so far?
CW: Obviously, I think how I would characterize that is that David has a position to take advantage of, possibly, the biggest off-season in franchise history. It is up to him and his staff that the assets we have accumulated are utilized correctly. The fact that we have a top 5 pick, the fact that we have Utah's and Charlotte's pick and expiring contracts, and that we are positioned well in a massive free agency market, it can be potentially one of the great summers in our franchise. As you know from watching the NBA, you only need 3 players to be a very good franchise. Look at how Oklahoma has turned themselves around very quickly in the past few years. We hope to be in a position like that [where we can quickly turn it around] this summer. By this time next year, we think we can be a completely different team in the NBA.#5 ME (via Wile E. Coyote): How is the team planning to define success next year? From a fan perspective, if next year is not about trying to win games and put the most competitive rotation on the floor, I will not watch. I cannot stand another year of abstract player evaluation, zero accountability for wins, and a general tank-a-thon to yet another draft.
CW: We've got to compete for a playoff spot next year. That is success on the court and with the potential of Rubio the year after, and one more round of free agency, and lotto in the event that we don't make the playoffs; all that being said, I think we will compete for the playoffs next year at this time and if we do not, I will be very disappointed. With this comes expectations of attendance. I think we should be averaging 16k people again.
I was mad about that a month or so ago. Now, I realize it's just the byproduct of something obvious.
The team had Lazar Hayward, Anthony Tolliver, and Mike Beasley call season ticket holders today. They also tweeted that Rambis said Anthony Randolph might play in tomorrow's game right at the trade deadline. I'm sure that this says something about something but I don't want to think about it long enough to figure it out. Whatever, whoever, asdlfkkasdlfkjjlasdfdjf.
This team is run by an owner who rightfully has put it into a death spiral. It's POBO doesn't know what he's doing and every time he opens his mouth he makes things worse. The poor folks who have to sell tickets don't have anything to work with. Blah, blah, blah.
On that note, let's gear up for some more blowouts, another draft run by incompetents, and.....what else?
Who cares? I've accepted that question.