clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Everything you know about the Wolves is wrong, pt.ii: David Kahn needs to act quickly with Kevin McHale

New, comments

This wasn't going to be an original topic in this series (hiring Sam Mitchell was going to be the next in line) but a distinct little meme has been popping up among the local opinion makers who purportedly still pay attention to the team and I thought it would make for an interesting conversation.  It starts with drive-time talker Dan Barrerio:

Closed circuit to Kahn: Make a call here. You're not negotiating with Red Auerbach in his coaching prime. Get a deal done with the Ostrich...or move on so you have time to get the next coach in here so maybe he can eventually be involved in viewing what talent might be available.

Keep in mind that this take is coming from a guy who has, for years, argued that the Wolves needed to rid Kevin McHale of any and all front office duties and bring in an outside voice to provide a new perspective on things; you know, the kind of guy with the ability to hire who he wants to hire.  Now that this has happened, and now that the team finally has done what he has long been clamoring for, Barrerio still needs to find a "talker" in the issue, and, in typical drive-time fashion, he finds a way to insert his own opinion about what needs to be done into the action rather than bother with dealing with what is actually happening.  Closed circuit to David Kahn: Barreiro will always do this to you.  Short of a title it will never be enough (even then, I'm not so sure).  If called on his BS, Barreiro will undoubtedly unleash a string of nuances and/or conditions to his opinion that will allow him an escape route.  This is par for the course for a guy who values being in the middle more than anything else. Closed circuit to Barreiro: There is no middle, only a center of attention. 

The meme continues with former KFAN personality Doogie:

McHale's dirty fingerprints are all over this franchise.


It's time for Kahn to cut the chord. McHale is being treated as if he were Phil Jackson or John Wooden. He can motivate the players - so can many others. He doesn't have a playbook or even design plays in-game. That responsibility fell last season to assistant Jerry Sichting. I am struggling to come up with even one semi-plausible reason to retain him. 


There's no need for a third meeting. McHale's body of work - or lack thereof - speaks for itself. These sitdowns are a waste of time. Kahn said he'll take his time with the McHale decision and may not hire a coach, whether that person is McHale or not, until after the draft. That is the wrong approach. A coach needs to be in place beforehand so you know what kind of style of play to draft around. Doing your due diligence on the draft and hiring a coach can be done simultaneously.

Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, and John Wooden.  What is in the water at KFAN? Aside from the back-asswardsness of this logic (those three coaching giants would be the ones to get quick public answers on whether or not they are wanted if a new GM were brought in), it ignores the basic fact that Kahn isn't interviewing anyone right now and the only reason he's talking to McHale is to get a grip on whether or not he will be included in the mix when he actually begins looking at coaches.  Going even further, there is no interim label on McHale's desk.  This is still a business, and as a business with new leadership, this is how existing management are dealt with.  Does the employee have a future with the organization?  If he does, what is it?  If he does should he have to compete against outside talent?  This is where Kahn is at with the process.  It is only the local opinion makers who are, as they like to think of themselves, ahead of the curve. 

Adding to the nonsense is the fact that this line of thinking only makes sense if McHale is the one making the decision to return.  That's the only way it works.  The guy has been banished away from draftee workouts and is clean out of the picture except for a few dinners with the new boss.  That's it.  Somehow, this situation has made the local scribes jump up and down while shouting that the new guy needs to quickly make a decision so the new coach can have an impact on selecting the players that the new guy was just brought in to help select.  Why do you need to have a coach in place to know what style of play and players you want to see on the squad?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Doogie squares the circle with a take straight out of the Sid Hartman playbook:

Call Sam Mitchell. Kahn and Mitchell were together briefly in Indiana. Mitchell proved in Toronto that he can coach. 


Owner Glen Taylor reportedly asked at least one candidate for Kahn's job to undergo detailed psyhcological testing. Some serious research would need to be done on Kahn if McHale is back.

To borrow from a comment by Poor Dick in a recent post; translation: I've heard of Sam Mitchell.  We'll deal with the Sam Mitchell myth in a future post but let's first continue our tour of the latest and greatest meme in Wolves coverage.  Here's long-time hack Bob Sansevere having trouble wrapping his head around the dueling blurbs of conventional Wolvesdom: McHale needing to be relieved of his front office duties and McHale needing to be fired as coach:

Item: Kevin McHale has not been attending NBA workouts at Target Center.

I think: He's done as coach of the Timberwolves. If there were even a scant chance he was returning as coach, he would be there watching prospective Wolves.

Never mind that we already know why McHale wasn't at the workouts.  Never mind that McHale has had all of his front office duties removed.  Nothing will get in the way of local columnists trying their darndest to fit new Wolves happenings into old Wolves memes.  Kevin McHale = teh suck and he needs to go.  Period.  

I mention all of this for a two reasons.  First, it represents the very worst of the quasi inside-the-beltway "reporting" that makes people want to cancel their newspaper subscriptions and/or throw the radio/tv out the window.  (One of the great ironies of the Barreiro show is that he's developed his very own country club of guests and yes-men...but that's a subject for another day.) We all know that folks who cover the team have their own ideas about the direction the team should go.  That's fine.  However, it is amazing how often these personal opinions are used as measuring sticks to gauge what is or is not happening with the subject they are covering.   We see this sort of thing in political coverage all the time when "serious" people talk "seriously" about ideas and issues that are neither attached to popular opinion or existing policy; they're just opinions that person x, y, or Bill Kristol have about this, that, or the other subject.  These clowns know that at the end of the day, if enough people on TV, print, and radio repeat their nonsense, it either drives the news or becomes the story itself. 

Here's the kicker: This sort of thing works for fans and for folks who just want to sit back and enjoy the action.  If you are a big fan of a team or you want to share your political views of the world, you start a blog.  I've long thought that the dirty little secret behind main stream media distaste for dirty bloggers was a bad case of projection.  When opinion is news, or when opinion substitutes for coverage, the only difference between the writer of globalwarmingisadirtyhoax.blogspot.com and George Will is the size of the microphone and a crappy bow tie.

Second, the Wolves have a new head of Basketball Operations who is preparing for the draft before he begins the coaching search.  That's it.  That's all we really know.  That's a long way from forming reasonable opinions about how quickly McHale needs to be kicked to the curb.  Questions like "Is he the best available coach?", "Did the players show solid progression under his tutelage?", or "Does his style best fit the direction the club wants to go?" are completely ignored, often in favor of the great Sam Mitchell mission. Why do you suppose the opinion makers in the local media want Smitch to return to the Target Center?  You don't think it has anything to do with personal access, do you?

Until later.

PS: Completely setting aside the media aspect of all of this, what do you think needs to happen for McHale to stay?  How would you handle the process?  Should his front office record come into play when considering him as a coach?  Is he the best fit for the club?  We'd love to hear your take on the matter.