NBA Trade Machine Challenge: Blow Up Pistons’ Roster

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The Sports Guy refers to himself as the Picasso of ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.  Well if he is Picasso then The Sports Bank’s Peter Christian and David Kay are the da Vinci and van Gogh of the trade machine (though neither would cut their own ear off while working on a trade… or at least I don’t think.)

In this new feature, Peter and David will play the role of NBA general manager since they are likely more intelligent than half of the GM’s out there.  One will propose a challenge to the other to make a trade happen with certain requirements and the other will accept the mission like he were Tom Cruise and explain why all parties involved would pull the trigger on the deal.
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NBA Power Rankings: #28 Minnesota Timberwolves

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by: David Kay

We are only a month and a half away from the start of the NBA season.  So why not start our 2009-2010 team previews?  Every weekday for the next six weeks, I will be revealing my pre-season Power Rankings in reverse order from #30 to my prediction for winning the NBA title.

Coming in at #28, the Ricky Rubio-less Minnesota Timberwolves.  They have a new general manager, head coach, and TEN new players including a completely made over backcourt.  Unfortunately for T-Wolves nation, there will be plenty of growing pains as the team’s re-building process continues.

To read the complete preview, click here.

The Wolves Got Kahned

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“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing the world he didn’t exist”

By Peter Christian

That is a line from one of my favorite movies of all time and has recently been running through in my head over and over. Not because I have an inkling to watch “The Usual Suspects” but because a man that I believe to be more divinely stupid and evil than anyone -other than Bernie Madoff or Spencer Pratt- struck again. David Kahn just picked up his limp and revealed himself to be the true Keyser Soze. The final straw has been broken.

Any faith I had left in the Timberwolves front office in taking steps towards turning their current puddle of piss situation around went away with the relatively minor signing by Philadelphia of Timberwolves free agent Rodney Carney. On its own, the official departure of Carney would have meant nothing to me (OK that’s not true, I really liked Carney last year and thought he could have been a good wing option for a team really thin in that area), but it was just another piece of evidence that David Kahn (Timberwolves VP of Basketball Ops since the end of May) is completely void of logic, basketball knowledge and any semblance of a plan whatsoever. Every Wolves headline has been proof that Kahn is a first class buffoon that has no business making a decision of which brand of toothpaste to buy, let alone being the sole man in charge of rebuilding the joke of a basketball team that the Minnesota Timberwolves have become.

It started with the way he handled the booting of Kevin McHale, continued with the trade of Randy Foye and Mike Miller for a stock pile of bad contracts and the 5th pick in the draft. At face value that trade could have been a winner. Instead Kahn sullied the situation by drafting the best point guard who’s already proved he can play with the best of the NBA by then following up and taking another top billed point guard. Instead of being in a position to have some youthful talent at two positions, Kahn loaded up at the same position and pissed off the prospect with a higher ceiling so much that he didn’t even come to the team.

Then there was the coach hired to run an offense that he hasn’t ever coached, the trade of three fan favorites for a player that filled a weakness and also gave the team another expiring contract and then the re-trade of that player for another expiring contract but at a position that helps the team about as much as I need an eyeball on the arch of my left foot. 86343355JP006_DRAFTPORTRAITS

In short, Kahn has turned a 24 win team that struggled to fill seats last year into a team that will be lucky to win 20 games and can’t even sell $5 seats. The Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor should be ready to go Mt. St. Helens on Kahn’s ass as he is prepping the team to lose more money than it has ever lost since Taylor bought the team in 1994. He should also be pissed as hell that Kahn turned two very valuable assets into a prospect that wants no part of the team. And David Kahn took on three turds with bad contracts to boot. Yet somehow has remained mum. I know if it was my money that Kahn was pissing away I’d be beating him with a rubber hose and throwing rocks at his teeth right now.
Worse than everything is Kahn’s arrogant attitude. In every interview he has given since being hired on May 22nd 2009 (when we started listening to the tale that Verbal Kint/Keyser Soze started spinning) Kahn has spoken to the interviewer as if they were a 4 year old child with a learning disability. If Kahn spoke to me like that, I would pull his eyeballs out through his earholes. I know I’m no NBA GM, but I know at least 2 dozen people who are able to hold their own in a conversation about basketball better than Kahn can.

Kahn may have fooled Glen Taylor and a select few of the media here in Minnesota, but not me. I know that his last name is simply just a phonetically spelled pronunciation of what he is trying to do to the Timberwolves. He messed up the Ricky Rubio situation so badly that it will be at least 2 years until he plays for the Wolves, but probably more (if at all) and if he is planning on just using his rights as an asset for another trade (if he does that it will screw up the franchise even more). Because it will be at the lowest point of Rubio’s value.

Kahn’s plan to build a winning basketball team has about as much chance to succeed as Gary Coleman in an Olympic High Jump event. He apparently never grasped the concept of “Buy Low, Sell High” and we should probably thank our lucky stars that he isn’t a manager of a hedge fund, a mutual fund advisor or a financial planner. In less than four months he has killed the Timberwolves chances at improving from last year. Remember, at one point Minnesota was one of the hottest teams in basketball before Al Jefferson got hurt. Kahn has completely demoralized any fan base that was left after the last couple seasons of suck with a completely illogical theory of “Buy High, Sell Low.”

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I don’t know what kind of screw job the Timberwolves/Glen Taylor put on Kahn in his former life, but he is returning the favor with gusto now. Keyser Soze would be proud.

Face It, Rubio Doesn’t Want to Play for T-Wolves

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By: David Kay

Timberwolves general manager David Kahn didn’t just throw Ricky Rubio under the bus.  He slammed his head in the bus door a few times, drove over Rubio, shifted to reverse, ran him over again, leaned out the window to spit on him, then floored the bus over him again.  This continually developing story should be as interesting to follow as the Brett Favre/Packers circus of the summer of 2008.

12 hours after it was reported that the fifth overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft would be staying in Spain, Kahn came out and tried to save face in hopes of limiting the amount of backlash he would receive for not getting Rubio in a T-Wolves jersey this up-coming season.  Kahn released a statement Monday morning stating that a buy out was reached between Rubio and his Spanish team DKV Joventut, that would allow the 18-year old to come to the NBA.  Instead, Rubio backed out of the deal, deciding that he would be better served staying home and playing two years for FC Barcelona.  In other words, Kahn is saying, “I did all I could to get this kid in a T-Wolves jersey this season, but this punk doesn’t want to play for us.”

Rubio also released a brief statement: “The reason leading me to take this next step is to have a period of preparation to better take the challenge of the NBA in better conditions as a player. The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be my first option and I wish to play with them in the near future.”

I’m not buying that for a minute Ricky.  If it were the Knicks or Clippers that drafted you and had worked out a reasonable buy out from your Spanish team, you would be playing in the NBA this season.  But since you ended up in a less-than-desirable market by your standards, you suddenly felt you needed more time to season your game overseas.

rubiosternAt no time during the draft process was there any talk of Rubio not being “NBA-ready.”  He had been playing in one of the toughest European leagues since he was 14-years old and flashed signs of his ability against the world’s best in the 2008 Summer Olympics.  There were questions about his transitioning to the more physical NBA game, but how is spending two more years in Spain going to better prepare you for the physicality of the Association?

I’m starting to think Rubio will never play for the Timberwolves.  Kahn keeps saying he is willing to wait for the summer of 2011 when Rubio has the option to leave Barcelona without having to pay any buy out.  Rubio claims he is still committed to play for Minnesota.  But if that is indeed still his “first option” then why wait?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

Barring a miraculous turnaround in Minnesota, I don’t see this ending well for Kahn and company.  The possibility of dealing Rubio’s rights for some pieces to help their re-building may be the best option at this point and save us all from the soap opera that will assuredly continue during the next two years.  Otherwise, we will be forced to suffer through the same situation in two years with Rubio reluctant to call the Twin Cities “home.”

Kahn wrote in his statement, “I wished Ricky well and told him that, while I could not predict the future, I expected to see him in Minnesota soon.”  Don’t hold your breath Mr. Kahn.  Just keep driving the bus.

Rubio Staying in Spain

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by: David Kay

Timberwolves general manager David Kahn can finally stop racking up all those frequent flyer miles.  After months of trying to figure out a way for Ricky Rubio to play for Minnesota this season, the negotiations and trips overseas to Spain have gone for naught.  Monday night, Yahoo! Sports reported the Spanish sensation’s rights were traded from DKV Joventut to FC Barcelona, meaning Rubio will likely not be coming to the NBA until the summer of 2011 when his contract doesn’t require a buyout for him to head to the U.S.

Financially, Rubio just didn’t have the means to buy himself out of the $8.11 million remaining on his contract.  Kahn just ventured to Spain for a third time this summer to try and work out a way to lower the buyout, something that DKV Joventut was reportedly receptive to doing.  But in the end, a deal could not be resolved, thus putting off Rubio’s dream of playing in the NBA and adding to Kahn’s already dubious reputation as an NBA GM.rubiostern

This puts the finishing touches on what has been a disastrous off-season for the T-Wolves.  They ultimately turned Randy Foye, Mike Miller, Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, Mark Madsen, and five draft picks into Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Darius Songaila, Oleksy Pecherov, Mark Blount, Damien Wilkins, Chucky Atkins, the possibility of Ricky Rubio playing for them in 2011, and a little bit of cap space for next off-season.  Even Grizzlies’ general manager Chris Wallace is laughing right now.

This leaves Minnesota with quite the conundrum.  Does Kahn sit on Rubio’s rights for the next two years, hoping that the 18-year playmaker will come to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to play for the T-Wolves, or does Kahn try to trade his rights to gain assets that will help the franchise’s re-building process right away?

Kahn obviously knew that there was a possibility that Rubio wouldn’t be playing in a Timberwolves uniform this season and has been quoted as saying that the team is willing to wait for Rubio.  Barring a ridiculous offer from another team, I cannot see his rights being traded.  Then again, this is David Kahn we’re talking about so anything is possible.

It is also no secret that Rubio has not been overly-excited about beginning his NBA career in Minnesota.  Playing two more years in Spain will only increase the likelihood of Rubio demanding a trade to a bigger market where he can rake in more cash off endorsements or threaten to remain overseas until Kahn finally gives in.

If there’s any positive that comes out of this situation, at least the Wolves will land one of the top picks in the 2010 NBA Draft and can hopefully add another young player to develop so when/if Rubio does call Minnesota home, the franchise will be ready to turn things around.

What did I miss?: The Favre who? edition

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By H. Jose Bosch

In just its fourth installment, What did I miss is tweaking itself a bit. For the first three weeks we’ve been very newspaper dependent with the links. This week we’ll try being more blog orientated for two reasons: 1. Blogs tend to be more interesting and funny 2. Blogs tend to be more interesting and funny.

That’s not to say we’ll ignore papers (we will for this week only). But from now on this weekly feature will be drawn primarily from the blogsphere with a sprinkling of interesting feature-style stories from the main stream media. Now back to you regularly scheduled post.

Wow. Minnesota has been tearing it up in the sports world this week. First was the return of Brett Favre, this time in a Vikings jersey. Then our boy Andy Weise and his well-placed sources informed the world that Ricky Rubio just might be coming to Minnesota after all.

fargoI don’t think Minnesota has received this much attention since Frances McDormand won an Oscar for her role in Fargo; which, by the way, was mostly filmed in North Dakota even though it’s set in Minnesota. So enjoy the attention Minnesota. It might be a while before you have another week as eventful as this.

As for the rest of What did I miss, this is what went on in the NFC North/Big Ten foot print that didn’t have to do with Favre-Rubio.

If you like poetry and like Chicago sports, then you’ll love this new blog at Chicago Now, which combines sports blogging with haiku. Nothing I read about the Bears’ 27-20 loss to the Bills sums up the experience quite like this:

High expectations
Lead to high disappointment.
But who is to blame?
-Andrew Braverman-

This might become my new favorite blog to stop by. Funny and original. You should take a look.

Crocs, the company that manufactures those annoying-looking but incredibly-comfortable shoes, is teaming up with new Piston Charlie Villanueva to donate their shoes to children in the Dominican Republic.
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I can’t help but think: “Leave it to the U.S. to peddle its no-longer-useful-fads onto poorer countries. All kidding aside, it’s really a great gesture from one of Detroit’s newest pro athletes.

Speaking of the Pistons, the fellow (fellers?) at Life on Dumars has been running an interesting little series called Forgotten Pistons. Here’s a link to the first one posted last Sunday but they’re all fun, short reads. I didn’t think players so irrelevant could make for a good blog post, but they do.

We have a little Michigan State presence here at The Sports Bank and by little I mean zero. So here’s some (gulp) Spartan love. The Other Side of Spartan Sports (an interesting take on MSU sports if you ask me) likes Michigan State’s agreement to play the three Michigan directional schools 12 times in the next 10 years. The news is significant because the Spartans have agreed to one road game for each series, which is rare for a Big Ten team to do.

The blog Girafinha threw out a very interesting nugget: Ann Arbor is currently under consideration as a venue for the U.S.’s 2018/2022 World Cup bid. Interesting read.

TCW at the Bucks Diary has called his shot early and says the Bucks will win AT LEAST 40 games this season. How many other bloggers will follow suit?

Cubby-Blue’s reaction to Tuesday night’s loss is horribly disturbing yet hilarious all at the same time. This kind of Web site makes me wish I knew how to do something other than write.

Good news Packers fans: Via Ticket News, those scalped tickets you’ll want to buy for Favre’s return to Lambeau Field will now be easier to buy!
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The sad thing about this video, via Total Packers, is that it might be the only time Ashton Kutcher has been funny in at least five years.

The Hour announces that UConn will christen the newly renovated Michigan Stadium in 2010 and will host the Wolverines in 2013, when I’ll invariably still be looking for a journalism job.

The college football season hasn’t even begun but we already have a playoff-is-better-than-the-current-system blog post, courtesy of the Phoenix Club. But, this post is worth reading because it’s the most creative playoff system I’ve ever seen proposed.

It’s essentially based on the European soccer champion’s league format, which could never work in the U.S. I love it and it’s interesting to see how the brackets would play out based on last season. Why is this relevant? Four Big Ten teams (Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa) would be in the playoffs under this system.

Last but not least is just a random video that you can forward to all your friends at work. Sometimes it’ll be sports related and sometimes it won’t be. This week it won’t be. Enjoy!

Wolves hope Rubio situation solved soon

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By Andy Weise

Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn has remained plenty busy this summer with the Wolves and it seems like he has one final thing to do: solve the Ricky Rubio buyout. Sources close to the Wolves and thesportsbank.net believe the chances of Rubio playing in Minnesota continue to increase by the day. With Kahn in Spain this week, a deal appears to be nearing completion and the announcement could be coming soon.

We’ve all seen the numbers plenty of times and we all know the NBA rule a team can only contribute $500k towards the buyout, but Kahn continues to give hope to Wolves fans with his nonstop tinkering to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004. That hope rests largely in the No. 5 overall pick in the NBA draft, 18-year-old Spanish guard Ricky Rubio.

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Kahn has visited Spain a handful of times according to sources, and pictures did appear on the Internet after one of his visits with both him and Rubio together, appearing to be enjoying themselves. While the east-coast media has continually fueled speculation that Kahn will ship Rubio to his former boss’ (Donnie Walsh) new team, the New York Knicks, common sense would say the Knicks do not have the pieces and the Wolves are desperate to attract attention that would turn into ticket sales.

It’s very hard to say how much Rubio would contribute this year if he does in fact join the Wolves. He will likely be competing with the Wolves’ other rookie point guard Jonny Flynn for playing time but because Rubio is only 18 going on 19, most players his age are stuck in college playing out their freshman seasons. Rubio’s potential might be only rivaled by Blake Griffin in the 2009 draft and that was the reason the Wolves were offered numerous trades, including one from Houston that included Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks.

One possible delay for any Rubio announcement would be the news of Brett Favre signing with the Minnesota Vikings this week. The Vikings have grabbed all the national headlines and if Rubio does announce that he is coming to Minnesota, the Timberwolves likely will steal some national attention even now, a few months before the season begins.

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Rest assured, Kahn and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor know the advantages of having Rubio on the team this year will likely cut into the deficit the franchise has had the last few years. With Rubio and Flynn joining franchise cornerstones Kevin Love and Al Jefferson, the Wolves begin to look like an up-and-coming organization. It won’t hurt that the team could have over $20 million in cap space this summer. Kahn also didn’t hurt the Wolves when he hired Lakers top assistant Kurt Rambis.