By Brian Stensaas
Hello from Target Center, where David Kahn has just been formally introduced as the Timberwolves new president of basketball operations. Before Kahn spoke, team owner Glen Taylor first went through how the hiring process went, saying the Wolves had a list of about 20 candidates. Experience was key, Taylor said. In the end”nobody is perfect, including David.” But he was the “best” for the job.
Taylor also came out and said, contrary to reports, nobody ever turned this job down.
Large crowd here today: plenty of media types, a whole bunch of Target Center employees and a good number of skyway walkers peering in from the common man’s quarters. Funny – just one security guard.
We’ve been handed a packet of information telling us all about Mr. Kahn (UCLA class of ’83; NYU School of Law ’93, etc). It includes testimonials from several former NBA colleagues, too. From Gregg Popovich to Larry Bird to Rick Carlisle.
Wearing a dark suit with a shiny new Wolves lapel pin, here’s some of what Kahn has said so far:
- On the Kevin McHale situation: “I had the over/under at 7 seconds. You just got the under. Thank you. It’d be very easy to sit here and say ‘you know what I’m going to fire Kevin. That would show you I have the authority.” It’s “[McHale's] decision too in some respects.” He will talk with McHale, who is currently up at his cabin, in the next week.
- How he envisions his staff shaping up: “I don’t have a pre-ordained list of people or a shadow government. We have five weeks. I called all the key staffers the the same night as Kevin. We don’t have one waking moment to devote to staffing issues. We have five weeks [until] the draft, an important draft. We have three [first-round] picks, if we use them all.”
- On whether he’s thick skinned or thin skinned because of being a former sports reporter: “Depends on what they’re saying.”
- On negative fan reaction on blogs: “I don’t worry about people who don’t know me and have opinions. In my case, I acknowledge I was the No. 2 person in Indiana, not No. 1. I flew somewhat under the radar. However, there are a lot of people in our industry who do know me. I believe that those people who I’ve worked with, by and large, respect me. It doesn’t matter if they like me so much as respect me.”
- How many games will the team win? “Not going to say that. Will Al be back healthy?”