By Jerry Zgoda
New Wolves boss David Kahn and Kevin McHale today met at length for a third time to discuss the team’s coaching job.
Looks like there will be a decision made on McHale’s future with the franchise by the end of the week at the latest.
Kahn last week asked us media types to give him some quiet time to decide the matter because he considered the attention generated by the two men’s first two meetings over dinner created what he called an undesirable “breathless, moment-by-moment” situation.
I sent him a text message tonight and asked if he was passing behind the moon for a prolonged period of radio silence and if a decision might come this week.
His response simply was: “Shhh.”
This third meeting came this afternoon and wasn’t over dinner.
Here’s my take on the situation, and it’s only my opinion based on my instincts and nothing else:
I considered the first two meetings a courtesy call by Kahn. I presumed Kahn doesn’t want to be seen as the guy who summarily dismissed a Minnesota basketball playing legend and the guy who led the Wolves basketball operations for 14 years.
When it went to today’s third meeting, I started to have my doubts and thought McHale will return — and he still certainly might — but I’ll stick to my initial instincts:
I just can’t see a guy hired to lead the franchise anew with fresh eyes taking on a fellow who casts such a long shadow in the organization, who is used to picking up the telephone and calling owner Glen Taylor anytime he wants something done. If Kahn is going to remake the franchise, you’d think he’d want to start with his own stamp on the organization by picking his own coach.
If McHale does not return, then who will coach the Wolves? Well, Sam Mitchell certainly is a possibility. Avery Johnson or Jeff Van Gundy perhaps could be convinced to come back to coaching, but it’d take some persuasion and a lot of money. Boston assistant Tom Thibodeau, a Wolves assistant so long ago, is perhaps the league’s top assistant coach candidate.
The problem with guessing who Kahn would choose if it’s not McHale is this: He hasn’t been associated with an NBA team since 2004, so it’s hard to trace his family tree.
But here’s a wild guess that might not be as far-fetched as it seems:
Mike Fratello, the Czar of the Telestrator.
Fratello has coached 15-plus NBA seasons (a 667 – 552 record) with Atlanta, Cleveland and Memphis — most recently with the Grizzlies in 2006 — and was part of NBC’s broadcast team when Kahn worked on the network’s “Showtime” pre-game show in the early 1990s.
If Kahn wants to roll the dice and dip into his NBA Development League roots for a fresh NBA face, he could consider former Missouri Tigers coach Quin Snyder, who won the D League’s “Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year” award for this past season.
Kahn has known Snyder for 16 years, since Snyder was a young assistant for Larry Brown with the Clippers. He was the guy who aimed Snyder toward coaching the Austin Toros team Kahn owned before he sold it to the San Antonio Spurs.