David Kahn Rumors
David Kahn: Jeff Austin, who I’d known casually, had represented Dell Curry when he was a player. He had been handed Steph due to his connection to Dell and told me this was a family request. “I really need your help on this,” Jeff said, explaining why there would be no visit and perhaps even hell-to-pay. (As it turned out, this was the only time when I was with the Wolves that I ever ran into this type of draft problem.) The back-channel message would have weighed heavily in my decision-making process under any circumstances, but especially in Minnesota. Immediately after my hire, I was spending nearly every weekday morning in the team’s conference room, listening to team business partners and season-ticket holders lament over coffee and pastries. “You’ll never attract free agents here,” they said, practically in unison. “Players don’t want to play in cold-weather places.” Doomsday all around.
David Kahn: So we now had the Nos. 5 and 6 picks in the draft. Taking not one, but two players who might not want to play in Minnesota? That would have taken real cojones. We took Rubio and Jonny Flynn, a ready-to-play point guard who started 81 games for us as a rookie and then fell victim to a terrible hip injury. At the time, drafting Flynn made a lot of sense: we didn’t have a single point guard on the roster and our staff had ranked him No. 1 among all point-guard prospects for not only his on-court play, but also his strong leadership qualities, a significant team need.
David Kahn: Flynn made his final move to the top of our charts based on his impressive visit and workout with Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings, among others. Curry’s absence was duly noted. Rubio wasn’t there, either, but I thought his passing ability and defense were extraordinary for an 18-year-old and was willing to take the risk I could ultimately recruit him to come. That was the player I wanted. There are only two reasons to share this story now. First, Dell Curry revealed the family’s demand to Minnesota last year but didn’t provide any detail. Part of the story’s out.
But here he is in the Las Vegas Review Journal as a candidate to be the next athletic director at UNLV. In addition to his work with the Wolves, the paper notes that Kahn was credited with helping with UCLA’s renovation of Pauley Pavilion as a consultant. The other four listed potential candidates, though, are either former or current high-ranking college athletics administration officials. Kahn would have to be considered a dark horse among that bunch. Then again, who would have imagined he would have been hired with the Wolves in 2009 when he got that job?
“I met with [then-Wolves GM] David Kahn and told him: ‘Don’t trade for me for the love of God. I don’t want to play in the NBA anymore. I’ll ruin your team. I’ll f*** up the team chemistry. Do not trade for me. When it’s not working it’s not working.’ He told me to join them for two weeks, and if I’m not feeling it I’m free to leave. My first year there actually went great. “My experience in the NBA was a catastrophe, because I’m a born winner. I don’t like losing, even in card games.
Minnesota started that night five year ago with the No. 2 pick, the No. 20 pick and a $4 million problem. Kahn intended to fire then-coach Kurt Rambis, but he hadn’t and let him twist in the wind for months. Rambis was owed about $4 million on his contract and, based on conversations with other executives, it seems that Kahn was under a de facto mandate he had to raise that money to pay off Rambis before firing him. For the record, Kahn strongly denied this was the case. But many competitors who were doing business with him did not believe him.