David Kahn exit interview: He takes full responsibility, blames everyone else [AUDIO]
First, Kahn was bad. This season, he was just unlucky.
What was first reported last week became official yesterday: David Kahn is out as the Timberwolves' president of basketball operations after a mostly disappointing four years on the job (and the new POBO is a familiar face -- former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders).
Right around the time the Wolves made Kahn's dismissal official with a press release, he actually called in to Dan Barreiro's KFAN radio show to willingly give what amounted to an exit interview. And in Kahn's classic sophist fashion, he somehow managed to accept full responsibility for all the mistakes that were made during his tenure while also offering a smorgasbord of excuses for those very same mistakes.
Here's what he had to say about some of the more memorable aspects of his run as Wolves POBO, followed by the raw audio:
Asked whether he'd be talking about his dismissal had the Wolves stayed healthier during an injury plagued 2012-13 season: "I truly do believe that if the team had maintained its health, that, no, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation today. But it didn't maintain its health. Some things are out of your control and there's nothing you can do about it."
More about injuries and some thoughts on the team's payroll: "We were able to put together a team the last couple years that if healthy would've been I think a really good team. In fact, now that some of the other teams in the Western Conference are having their share of injuries -- you know, I made a note to Glen the other day, you know, if we would've maintained our health we might've had a serious run in ourselves. I think we were able to manage to overcome almost anything, but the truth is, the payroll the last four years, the player payroll, was $200,000 away from being the 29th highest in the league, in a 30 team league. We had to do it that way by design because we knew that the team's revenue side was understandably going to be a little bit depressed coming out of the period where I came in [put differently, meet the underside of the bus, Kevin McHale]. In other words, this was a five-year period when I arrived where it was very lean.
About Kevin Love, with whom he was said to have a not-exactly-friendly relationship: "Kevin is on a journey from the individual to the team. And that's a journey that many players take in all sports, but especially in our sport because of the way the players are, the way they're raised through the AAU programs and then they're one and done in college if they're really good like Kevin is. I think Kevin will make the journey successfully. He and I have had many positive conversations over the past two months, because I think he recognizes that this is going to be something he has to work on, or continue to work on. And so, I like him a lot. We share the same hometown, we share the same college. I think this year, he made a bad mistake when he did an interview where he was feeling very bad about himself.
About the absolutely disastrous in hindsight selection of Jonny Flynn with the sixth-overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft: "In the '09 draft... I arrived on May 22, which was just too late to make a change on the scouting staff. Not that I intended to, but the feedback I got from the scouts was that they felt ignored, that they would do their scouting work all year long and nobody would listen to them at the end. Frankly, it was me who picked Rubio over somebody else's input just because I had seen him luckily in February before I took the job and as I look back on it, for us to have pulled out Rubio and Wayne Ellington out of the draft, who is now Dante Cunningham because we traded [Ellington] for him, under the circumstances, I don't feel too badly about that."
[Barreiro: "Are you saying you didnt make the Flynn pick?"] "Oh no, I own every pick. But Flynn was the number one point guard in the staff's eyes in that draft. He was ahead of Rubio on the board. And Jonny got hurt... nobody knew that Jonny had a bad hip at the time, it wasn't flagged in Chicago by the doctors, by all the doctors. And so, Jonny had a really good rookie year given the circumstances he was put in. On a very poor team, had an injury that year of itself [sic]. You know, that wasn't a bad rookie season. I think that Jonny lost a lot of his explosion when he got hurt, and I do believe Jonny will make a comeback provided he's healthy."
On the also disastrous in hindsight hiring of Kurt Rambis as Wolves head coach before the 2009-10 season: "I would agree that it didn't work out. I would agree that it was a decision at the time that seemed on paper to be a good one, but didn't work out. And I think, obviously, I own that as well."
Barreiro even asked Kahn whether Kevin Love really broke his hand (along with the Wolves' hopes of doing anything this season) doing knuckle pushups last fall. "I believe he did," Kahn replied.
Asked what he plans to do with his life from here, Kahn said the only thing on his agenda was to watch a couple of episodes of Mad Men at home last night and maybe have a glass of wine. That makes sense. After all, had he flipped on the NBA playoffs, he would've had to watch Stephen Curry (the player the Wolves could've had instead of Flynn) lead his team to the second round of the playoffs. We imagine that would've been a rather painful sight on the night the Glen Taylor decided to let him go.
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