David Kahn was officially dismissed by the Timberwolves on Thursday. Minnesota went a league-worst 89-223 (.285) during Kahn's tenure. Nine games worse than the Wizards and 10 games worse than the Kings during that span.
In true Kahnian fashion, the ousted savant lit everything around him on fire in a long, glorious exit interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's ace beat writer Jerry Zgoda. It was published in four parts, and you simply have to read the whole thing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
I picked out the four best passages for discussion. And by "best" I mean "most hilariously obtuse to the point I'm starting to believe the whole Kahn era was an elaborate practical joke."
Kahn on the Kevin Love contract fiasco
Whose fault is it that Kevin Love could leave as a free agent in 2015? Wolves owner Glen Taylor and, uh, Russell Westbrook. Quick explainer: a year ago, Love was eligible for an early extension, like other 2008 draft products. The max was for five years, which would take the player through 2017. Love wanted that. The Wolves refused. Love ended up signing a four-year deal with a player out after three. So he can become a free agent in 2015. Now, Kahn:
We handled it the best way we can, and of course I handled it per instructions from the owner. Glen and I talked about it at length. I think it actually took me some time to tell Glen it was imperative he receive max money. The only issue, the only quibble came down to that last year [...]. It's an awfully long time to string a contract out with all the variables that can occur mostly due to injuries and oftentimes to big men. That was it. I think Kevin really had his heart set on a fifth year. I think his friendship with Russell Westbrook (who signed a five-year deal with OKC) made it difficult to accept, but that's why I also prevailed upon Glen that we should relent and give him a third-year option so he felt like he was winning something too. In every compromise it's important for both sides to walk away with something that was valuable to have.
There are few absolute laws in the NBA. One is that you try to lock up young, cheaper All-Stars for as long as possible. Kahn either didn't think Love was as good as he is, didn't understand this basic rule or wasn't skilled enough to prevail upon Taylor to apply it. To compound that failure by further eroding the Wolves' lock on Love by offering up the player option is sheer madness. He's trying to take credit for being a good negotiator by touting how he potentially screwed Minnesota on the Love issue! And the idea that Love only wanted five years because Russ got it? I mean ... shouldn't the fact that the then Finals-bound Thunder gave Russ five years tell you something?
(In the very next exchange, Kahn talks about having spoken with Love about what he -- Love -- needs to do to "win back the respect and admiration of his teammates and coaches." This is pure, unbridled lunacy.)
Kahn on Jonny Flynn and Michael Jordan
In drafts, you can make a mistake or you can make a mistake you'll never recover from. One can argue that the Trail Blazers in certain ways didn't recover from the Jordan draft (in 1984). Our decision to take Jonny Flynn is not a decision we couldn't recover from. Memphis is playing this week and if they win one more game, they advance to the second round and in that same draft, they took Hasheem Thabeet with the second pick.
So which team are the Wolves in this bastardized analogy: the '80s Blazers or the current Grizzlies? They sure as hell aren't the latter. Plus, the Blazers made 19 straight postseasons after the allegedly devastating Jordan draft ... and two NBA Finals series within eight years. And the Jordan draft was something the Blazers never recovered from, while the Flynn draft -- followed by a still-active four-year string of lottery seasons, including two sub 20-win seasons, for the Wolves -- is a mistake you can overcome? (Bonus: Kahn worked in Portland -- for The Oregonian -- in the late '80s. He knows better).
Besides, bringing up the fact that the Grizzlies, a team as awful as the Wolves in 2009, is now one win from the second round while the Wolves are stuck in the mire IS NOT HELPING YOUR CASE. Then, he blames the scouts and says he traded the pick that became Lawson for a future first (that eventually became Martell Webster) because he didn't want to make too many decisions before having a coach. ?!?!!?!
Kahn on why the Wes Johnson pick worked out in the end
Kahn rambles on about how terrible it was to pick No. 4 in 2010, despite the fact that DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe and Paul George were picked from No. 5 on. And then he busts out a big stick of WTF in retroactively justifying the Wes Johnson pick.
And you should ask Rick [Adelman] about this: One of the selling points to Rick on this job when he was watching film of the team, he really liked Wes Johnson. And there was a lot to like about Wes.
Kahn picked Wes in June 2010. Wes had a disastrous rookie season. The presence of Wes was allegedly a selling point to Rick Adelman in June 2011. Adelman played Johnson less than 23 minutes per game, as he remained disastrous. (Michael Beasley, who Adelman openly hated, had more minutes per game than Wes.) Then Kahn pawned Wes off on the Suns along with a first-round pick for three future seconds.
David Kahn, shorter: "The Wes pick was a success because it helped us land Rick Adelman!" Is this life?
Kahn on people who were crazier than him about Darko Milicic
Darko? Let's talk Darko.
Darko, we played Darko. Kurt Rambis and Dave Wohl both were big proponents of making the trade. And once we obtained Darko, I could see what they were talking about. Darko has enormous skills. Both Kurt and Bill Laimbeer played the big-man position in the league and they felt if it ever worked out for him psychologically, he could be one of the top three or four centers in the league.
Even though it was Kahn who went on TV to call Darko "manna from Heaven" and assert that he was the best passing big man since Vlade Divac, and even though the contract was bad enough to amnesty two years in, and even though Kahn had basically a free half-season to figure out that Darko was awful in person in addition to multiple years in which history had proved Darko was awful ... it was all justified because two men no longer working in the NBA thought he'd be one of the top three or four centers in the league?
The unfortunate thing is that one of Kahn's consistent refrains -- that the team is in good shape, but has had lousy injury luck -- is true. With Love, Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Nikola Pekovic, Derrick Williams and Alexey Shved, the roster is finally good. As it should be after such a long string of lottery appearances.
It's just all of the excuses and justifications wear thin. If only Kahn would take his own advice, offered in his closing comments to Zgoda.
For me, important thing was if you made a mistake, understand why you made a mistake and change the behavior so next time you don't make the same mistake.
If Kahn had at any point in the last four years taken his own medicine, the Wolves would be in a much better place. Like, uh, the playoffs. Alas.