Picture this. It’s a fine Saturday night. You are as single as the day you were born, and a group of you and your closest friends enter a local watering hole. The group sits at a corner table, facing a set of 50” televisions and orders a few rounds of IPA and a plate of boneless buffalo wings that top even Smalley’s fantastic mouth-watering recipe, a TWolvesBlog staff favorite. Laughter and general merriment ensues. Within moments, nine members of the opposite sex enter and sit at the table closest to you and your ten friends. Courtesy of the ever-famous ‘liquid courage’ you immediately start boasting to your friends, and several fellow bar patrons, about how you are going to pick up one or more of the fine specimens at the other table. This piques the interest of your friends, who immediately begin their collective pursuit of the females (or males if you are female/prefer that lifestyle) at the opposite table. Being the kind friend that you are, you decide to buy round after round of cocktails for your pals to fuel the fire, and watch with a big smile as they slowly engage in successful courtship. One by one, they trickle out, on your bar tab, with a companion for the evening. Later only one ‘couple’ remains, and they are showing positive body language. However, your buddy drove to the bar, and you offer up your bed to be safe. You close out the tab, which amounted to $794.76, plus a tip (to which you chuckle and leave 5%), and stumble home with your friend and his/her attractive companion. Once you arrive home to your modest, disheveled apartment, they start to focus on a ‘singular’ goal, and saunter off into your bedroom where you have laid out rose pedals in the shape of a heart. You then go to bed by yourself on the couch, deleting a series of text messages your friends sent you, all making fun of your silly boasting and general cocky ways. No one thanks you for the drinks. And it doesn’t even cross your mind that you let all of this happen, for you are somehow happy you ended up with a plate of buffalo wings for eight hundred bucks.
Ladies and gentlemen: David Kahn.
As those remaining fans know by now: Kahn’s 18th window (or so) of opportunity to improve a 13-win franchise closed this afternoon. An afternoon in which O.J Mayo was nearly traded for an average draft pick and Josh McRoberts’ 7 and 5 average. The Wolves were rumored to be in pursuit of Raja Bell and Aaron Brooks. Nice.
It’s hard to sum up the feeling many of us probably have. The trade deadline did indeed yield us a solid young prospect who has shown he can make some noise in this league. This is a positive thing, so let’s not make this a rant about Anthony Randolph. However, Kahn had $12 million in cap space, which is now gone, and he did nothing but save a division rival an immense amount of money, while simultaneously allowing the Knicks to become a title contender. And he got nothing in return. Nothing. He picked up his buddies’ tab while they came away with the gold, and he fell asleep on the couch while everyone else went into the bedroom. What a sham.
I think the time for emotionally-driven ranting has come and gone, but I want to ask David Kahn to please do something for us. ‘Rumors,’ of which we admittedly cannot formally confirm the validity, have surfaced that Glen Taylor’s partners are basically preventing the team from adding any salary at the current time, despite being under the salary cap. $20 million dollar losses will do that to a minority owner. I get it. We get it. We can be rational. However David, if this is the case, then stop with the big talk. This is now your <insert #> window of opportunity in which you lay out, in plain english, that you are going to do something major with the King’s Ransom worth of assets, many gifted to you by the previous regime, that you have wasted away into 28 wins under your nearly two year command. Each and every time you have talked a big game you have come up miles short while everyone around you has had a successful night at the bar. Just. Stop. Talking. Nobody likes a dishonest man. Or a telemarketer. You are making a fool out of yourself. Wolves fans are not stupid. We know that your latest riff raff about how you are going to trade for a star when the CBA is finalized is another farce. If the team is facing financial difficulties and you really feel like you need to speak, then try saying something like this:
Fans, the deadline came and went today. I realize many of you are disappointed that I under-delivered on my word to you. Understand that I have your best interests in mind in creating a quality basketball product. I realize, furthermore that the team is not performing nearly up your standards. We believe that adding significant dollars to our payroll will limit our flexibility in the future, especially in light of a potential hard salary cap. Consider the significant hindrances large contracts have had on the flexiblity of this very ball club during the past decade. And while opportunities may have presented themselves, the player production per dollar was not enough to justify our limited possibilities for personnel addition. With that said, I realize additions are mandatory for us to get to where we want to be. We are definitely not done building this team, and still expect big changes. Myself and ownership will continue to pursue options and will make a calculated risk when the time is right. We feel our next opportunity will be this summer when major changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement could impact the salary cap, an event we have strategically prepared for. While we may not be able to add a significant contract, we feel it will be a great time to add talented players to our ever-changing roster.
It doesn’t explain why on earth OJ Mayo isn’t en route to Target Center, but it’s a start. On one hand, it’s easy to immediately jump on the “well why the hell would I buy tickets” brouhaha in reaction to a statement like that. It is also an empty ‘promise.’ But it also establishes a sense of accountability, realism, and manages expectations. Frankly, the fans were lead on on Thursday. We deserve better than this after three years of waiting for our cap space to be used. It is now gone. The truth hurts, and while the above would probably cause just as much uproar as the events that transpired this afternoon, it would be difficult to not respect the take substituted for a bunch of added nonsense. Would you rather be lead on again through lies (yes, outright lies) of “windows” and “singular moves” or would you rather just know the honest truth? Because that is the honest truth: no ‘big’ move is coming. And, Mr. Kahn, you just tried to open another window for this summer, and you have no cap space. Yeah, we believe you David. Good one.
This is the main reason many fans seem upset. Not because nothing happened, but because we were lead to believe something would. We had to also stomach echoes of “we are done rebuilding” when describing a 13-win team lead by a questionable coach. Instead, we facilitated at a dramatic level, and were not even compensated for it. This is not ok. This is not up to our, rather low might I add, expectations. On that note: you went after Aaron Brooks? Really?
On one hand I can understand Kahn’s position. Cheap ownership and a small group of hungry, just about fed up, fans of a 13-win team are the worst combination in sports. With that said, Kahn takes a lot of heat that is probably undeserved due to financial handicaps out of his control. But, it’s the ‘window’ and ‘singular’ baloney that makes this whole process unacceptable, and makes any sense of sympathy drop through the floor. Not to mention Rambis, but that horse is dead and beaten, and there happens to be $4 million still owed to the remains.
So, Kahn, you made another promise. You had better deliver. We are not stupid. We know your tactics, and they are not selling any more tickets. We know very well that the latest report about ‘big things’ this summer will likely leave you sleeping on the couch, while the remaining six members of Wolves Nation assemble their pitchforks yet again.