David Kahn, the laughing stock he’s been of the NBA during his reign as GM here in Minny, has a plan — or is it had a plan? When he arrived about two years ago, so beautifully gracing our presence, he announced that the Wolves would no longer dwell in the NBA’s basement for much longer. He vowed that in 24 months this team would be turned around, well on its way to the Playoffs.
It’s safe to say that no one’s perfect. Neither is Kahn’s plan. Let’s be honest with ourselves: nothing ever goes according to plan.
But what I’ve taken away from the latest trade deadline to come and go without so much of a single “Ah ha!”move, it’s that Kahn’s plan has taken a turn for the worse. Or else he really does have something cooking and no one’s allowed to see magic happen behind the steam.
Kahn’s been preaching the “singular move” for quite some time now. Last season the Wolves teased with the idea of picking up a much-needed superstar to man one of the wing positions. Andre Iguodala was a relevant trend at the time and arguably a great fit here in Minny. This season, rumors flew about of the Wolves finally achieving some sort of stability at the point guard position. Whether that meant moving Jonny Flynn and simplifying matters for the future or making that risky move and reach for a big name such as Steve Nash, we figured something would’ve happened on one of the most exciting days of the year for a guy like me.
So what happened?
The past two trade deadlines have something eerily in common: They were both busts. Plain and simple. Kahn failed to nail down that singular move to turn the franchise around as promised before. Whether he just refused to work the phones like some desperate telemarketer working for pennies on the dollar or teams just really weren’t interested in our young assets — I highly doubt that — the deadline came and passed without the slightest ounce of progress towards the future — No offense, Anthony Randolph.
Some might view the Brewer-Randolph/Curry trade as a complete bust. We gave up a fan favorite for two demoralizing human beings that have never been happy in the NBA. Curry has been nothing but an obliterate slob who refuses to lose weight and Randolph still has not found a place to call home where he can hone in on his outstanding skills and make something of his NBA career. But you could also spin the trade with “a glass half full” approach. Randolph has the talents to become a Lamar Odom-like player, who could prove to be vital on a title run as we’ve seen in recent years with the Lakers’ success. Sure, we gave up a lovable character in Corey Brewer, but let’s face it: he was never going to learn how to shoot or dribble effectively, and even his strength of being a defensive wizard never panned out — he was a tremendous on-ball defender but took way too many gambles going for steals and loose balls.
No matter which side you decide to take, we can all agree this wasn’t Kahn intended on being that singular move, you know, the one we were looking for. But why didn’t it happen to us? We saw the deadline turn the OKC Thunder into legit NBA title contenders instead of the Lakers’ punching bag. We saw the Portland Trail Blazers turn their unfortunate injury-riddled situation into one of the most physical defenses the Western Conference will ever see in the Playoffs — if they get there, of course. Even the Eastern Conference was awarded with two of the West’s ultimate superstars, who are likely to go on and lead their respective squads into Championship contenders.
Other teams left the deadline basking in the fact that they found a new hope or a fresh start. The Wolves left the deadline literally at the same place they began.
Fans should be angry. Fans should be disappointed. Not angry or disappointed in the fact that the big, singular wasn’t made but that no singular move was made to make our team better immediately. Randolph is good, don’t get me wrong, but like I said, he’s a project — a big one at that. I’m talking well beyond the one trade made over two days ago. From the buzz of things that I gauged on today’s Twitter feed and the flurry of ESPN reports, the Wolves had opportunities to make a move, something, anything. Nothing happened and so that’s why fans should be bummed out and deflated of all hope. Kahn had the opportunity to make one simple thing happen and elevate this desperate fanbase’s morale but it just didn’t happen. We were all let down for the second time under his command and there may not be any reason to forgive him for that.
What’s left to hope for?
Kahn’s plan isn’t worth jumping ship quite yet though. Even after bashing the man for his questionable calls and dormant manner at today’s deadline, he still has a chance to redeem himself. Only one chance that is.
With a new CBA in the works and tons of assets to handle, including a sure lottery pick — potentially top 3 — this team has some leverage. But as we’ve seen before, it’s a matter of being able to utilize that leverage and create a better situation on the court in 2011-2012.
The best reasoning I could muster up on why the Wolves didn’t make their move today is because they’re the team lurking in the shadows just waiting for the moment to pounce. The new CBA could crack down on the higher payroll teams more than we think, and who will be ready to welcome that “overpaid” All-Star from their team? The Wolves.
Hope also comes in the form of this magical being from Spain. The name’s Ricky Rubio. The game could very well stabilize a position the Wolves have never had properly filled for more than three years tops at a time. If indeed the magician from Barcelona makes his way to the frozen tundra, it’d be a whole new ball game. Whether or not he can be relied upon as the savior of this God-forsaken franchise remains to be unseen, but he’s easily our brightest glimmer of hope of having any success in the next year or two.
All hope is just a game of cat and mouse for now. The talk of the new CBA is just speculation at this point — A lockout is looming, for God’s sake. Perhaps it’s arranged in such a way it gives larger markets even more power than they have now, which leaves the Wolves in an even darker place. And the actual coming of Rubio is completely out of anyone and everyone’s hands except his own.
The only solid hope fan’s can insert their faith into is Kevin Love and potentially Michael Beasley. Without these two, this season, no, this franchise would be nowhere. We wouldn’t have to root for a double-double every night so Love can break some record. We wouldn’t have Beasley’s antics to sit back and enjoy as well as his raw potential of becoming one of the league’s most lethal scorers. Things would truly be in disarray without these two. They’re easily the building blocks for the future no matter what Kahn makes happen this summer and beyond.
All we can hope for is stability from those two. Everything else is as good a guess as yours. I advise not placing any wagers on the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves, especially with what could go down this summer.