Monday, June 1, 2009
McHale's future still undecided
MINNEAPOLIS -- Timberwolves boss David Kahn and Kevin McHale are still deciding McHale's status as coach. Fred Hoiberg and the rest of the evaluators in Minnesota's front office are furiously planning for the draft, without a guarantee Kahn will keep them beyond that.
The Wolves are, again, a team in limbo.
There's so much work to do in this reconstruction process, though, that even if the holdovers were to publicly acknowledge the awkwardness there is little time to fret about it.
"We've got plenty to keep our minds on right now," Hoiberg said, adding: "It's been fine. David's done a nice job coming in and explaining his philosophies on things. We've been putting a lot of projects together, just getting ready for the draft. That's the most important thing right now, everybody continuing to do their job and get us prepared for June 25."
Kahn was hired 10 days ago as the team's president of basketball operations. McHale was in charge of the front office for more than 13 years before owner Glen Taylor sent him to the bench last December to replace fired coach Randy Wittman. Kahn and McHale have talked at least once, and they'll meet again this week to discuss whether McHale will come back.
Kahn declined to provide more specifics.
"Kevin is still very much, as I am, in that situation," he said. "We're still very much in a process to determine if he, or whoever, will be the coach."
Kahn's four lieutenants -- general manager Jim Stack, assistant general managers Hoiberg and Rob Babcock, and director of player personnel Zarko Durisic -- watched a handful of draft prospects work out Monday at the team's cramped practice facility adjacent to Target Center.
Representatives from 20 NBA teams attended, while Omri Casspi (Israel), Eric Devendorf (Syracuse), Danny Green (North Carolina), Daniel Hackett (Southern California), B.J. Mullens (Ohio State) and Luke Nevill (Utah) moved around the court in the morning. Another half-dozen were due in the afternoon, with more workouts scheduled throughout the week.
Timberwolves assistant coaches were there, too, but McHale was missing.
"It would put too much pressure on him, in my opinion, and it would probably make it very uncomfortable with other people here," Kahn said. "I think that it's not appropriate yet until we resolve it. It would be more appropriate once we have it resolved."
The future for the rest of the front office isn't resolved, either. Taylor didn't decide on Kahn until more than after the end of the regular season, leaving roughly the same amount of time for him to prepare for a draft in which the Wolves currently hold three first-round picks: Nos. 6, 18 and 28.
Changes, if Kahn so desires them, would be disruptive during this critical month. So everyone is status quo, including Stack and Hoiberg, who were candidates for the position that went to Kahn.
"I think all of us were very professional throughout the whole thing and stayed on task," Hoiberg said. "This is a very important draft. We set ourselves up with all the draft picks and the cap room and the flexibility we have. We just all went out and did our jobs and got ourselves prepared.
"David came in, and a lot of it's been getting him caught up on where things are with draft picks. He's a sharp guy. He's very smart, and he knows what he wants."
Might that include a true, defense-driven center to complement cornerstone Al Jefferson in the post?
"I don't know if we'll do it in the draft, but I agree with this concept that it would be great as we all know to have some length," Kahn said.
Mullens, who left the Buckeyes after his freshman season, could line up well with Minnesota's middle pick.
"I'm a big. I'm agile. I can move really well. I'm young. And I'm 7 foot," he said. "I just feel that I'm ready. This is my time to go. The opportunity's right there in front of me, so I'm going to take it."