David Kahn spent four years as an NBA general manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves. His era is frequently described as “Kaaaaaahn!”, synonymous for doing a pretty horrible job during his time in the big seat.
Following is a list of Kahn’s biggest moves, and what those have turned into today, if anything.
2009 NBA Draft
Surprisingly, the first move of Kahn’s career was a solid one. He traded Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Washington Wizards for Oleksiy Pecherov, Darius Songaila, Etan Thomas and a 2009 1st round draft pick that turned into Ricky Rubio who is now a full-time starter for the Wolves.
During the 2009 draft however, Kahn began slipping after making the Rubio selection:
Jonny Flynn was selected 6th, Ty Lawson 18th, Wayne Ellington 28th, and Nick Calathes at 45th.
Lawson, by far a steal at that draft position, was sent off to Denver for a 2010 first-rounder, used on Luke Babbit the following year. Babbit would then be flipped, alongside Ryan Gomes, for Martell Webster who was waived in 2012.
Current return for Ty Lawson: Nothing.
Flynn remained with Minnesota, playing two forgettable seasons until he was traded to Houston in 2011 alongside the 20th pick in the draft, Donatas Motiejunas, as well as a 2012 2nd round pick (which turned into Will Barton) for Brad Miller, Nikola Mirotic, Chandler Parsons, and a 2013 first-round pick.
Parsons, however, was almost immediately traded back to Houston for cash. Mirotic was traded to the Bulls for the draft rights to Norris Cole and Malcolm Lee, while Miller played 15 games for the Wolves.
Cole was traded to Miami for Bojan Bogdanovic, who in turn was traded to the Brooklyn Nets for cash considerations and their 2013 secound-round pick (Lorenzo Brown, later waived).
Lee played two years in Minnesota and was traded alongside 2013 first-round pick Andre Roberson to the Golden State Warriors for a 2014 second-rounder (Alessandro Gentile) and cash. Even Gentile was later traded to Houston for cash himself.
Current return for Jonny Flynn: Nothing.
Ellington played three seasons for Minnesota, and was traded in 2012 to Memphis for Dante Cunningham, who at this moment remains a free agent.
Current return for Wayne Ellington: Nothing.
Calathes was traded to Dallas for a 2010 second-round pick (Magnum Rolle) that was later included in a deal that acquired the Wolves Damien Wilkins and Chucky Atkins. The Wolves gave up Etan Thomas, and a 2010 second-round selection that would turn into Dexter Pittman.
Wilkins later signed with Memphis as a free agent, and Atkins was waived just after the trade.
Current return for Nick Calathes: Nothing.
Summary of the 2009 NBA Draft: The Wolves went into the draft locked and loaded with four first-round picks, and ended up with just Rubio and letting Ty Lawson slip through his fingers.
2010 NBA Draft
Selected fourth, Johnson played two disappointing seasons with Minnesota before he was traded to Phoenix Suns in a three-team deal in which New Orleans (then Hornets) gave Minnesota three future second-rounders. Kahn also gave up a future first-round pick to the Suns in that deal, which is now top 12 protected in both 2015 & 2016.
Current return for Wesley Johnson: Pending.
See Ty Lawson.
Trevor Booker and Hamady N’Diaye
Both Booker and N’Diaye were traded to Washington for Lazar Hayward and the draft rights to Nemanja Bjelica. Hayward was later traded for Robert Vaden (waived), a 2012 second-round draft pick (Robbie Hummel) and a 2013 2nd round draft pick (Bojan Dubljevic – never signed).
Current return for Trevor Booker and Hamady N’Diaye: Robbie Hummel and Bojan Dubljevic.
Summary of the 2010 NBA Draft: Kahn picked a bust in Wesley Johnson, and gave away a first-rounder in the deal that sent Johnson away. He also sent away Trevor Booker for what ultimately became Robbie Hummel and the rights to Bojan Dubljevic, which potentially can become a good deal if Dubljevic comes over.
2011 NBA Draft
Selected 2nd overall, Williams played slightly over two seasons for Minnesota, never living up to his potential. After Kahn’s departure, Williams was traded to Sacramento for Luc Mbah a Moute, who was later involved in the Kevin Love trade.
Current return for Derrick Williams: Mbah a Moute’s involvement in the Kevin Love deal.
See Jonny Flynn.
Summary of the 2011 NBA Draft: Williams was universally believed to be the best player available at #2, so it’s hard to find difficulty in choosing him. However, this makes the third straight draft in which Kahn ended up with a fumble, outside of selecting Rubio two years prior.
2012 NBA Draft
Jones, the current starting power forward for Houston, was selected and traded by Kahn for Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu, a 2006 second-round selection who in late 2013 signed a three-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem and is unlikely to ever come over. Budinger remains with the Timberwolves where, after two seasons, he’s partaken in 64 games.
Summary of the 2012 NBA Draft: Kahn once again traded away superior talent, which is almost a symbolic ending to his regime as the 2012 draft proved to be his last.
Due to Minnesota not being considered a hot spot for free agents, Kahn’s moves for the most part were small and at times completely insignificant. Due to that, only a select few signings have been singled out.
Ramon Sessions – Four years, $16 million (2009)
Sessions at $4 million a year at the time was considered good value. However, he spent only one season in Minnesota, and was traded to Cleveland for Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West. Telfair, whom Kahn had traded away just one year prior, left after a year to sign with Phoenix, and West never played a game for Minnesota, being waved a week after the trade.
Current return for Ramon Sessions: Nothing.
Darko Milicic – Re-signed for four years, $20 million (2010)
This was arguably the biggest blunder David Kahn made in free agency. Not so much due to Milicic’s price tag, which admittedly was hefty given his lack of on-court stability. It was Kahn’s relentless talk of Milicic’s abilities that turned people off. After being acquired the previous year, and playing 24 games with the Wolves, Kahn felt it necessary to talk up Milicic all throughout the summer after re-signing him, even going as far as comparing Milicic’s career to that of Chris Webber’s, in front of Webber, during a live telecast at Summer League:
Milicic was waived two years later.
Current return for Darko Milicic: Nothing.
J.J. Barea – Four years, $18 million (2011)
Barea was signed after winning the championship with Dallas just months prior. With Rubio and Luke Ridnour already in the fold, Kahn decided to spend $4.5 million annually on Barea, who was waived earlier this month.
Current return for J.J. Barea: Nothing.
Brandon Roy – Two years, $10.4 million (2012)
Roy, a former All-Star, had such steep knee problems that he only played five games for Minnesota after having missed the entire 2011/2012 season. The second year of Roy’s deal was not guaranteed, meaning Kahn paid him $5.1 million for playing 122 minutes that one season. Or, even more impressive, $41,803 per minute. He was waived in May 2013.
Current return for Brandon Roy: Nothing.
Summary of Free Agency: Kahn never had the opportunity to sign a star, so he was forced to gamble on mid-level talent. For the most part, he stuck with those players until they left or were waived. Even Luke Ridnour, who Kahn signed to four years and $16 million in 2010, wasn’t traded until after Kahn had been fired.
“The Curious Case Of The Al Jefferson Trade”
Al Jefferson was traded in July 2010 to Utah for the picks that eventually became Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones (see above for their faiths) as well as Kosta Koufos, who played 39 games with Minnesota before being traded in the Carmelo Anthony trade of 2011.
(The return on the Anthony trade was limited for Minnesota, who played a somewhat passive role. They absorbed the contract of Eddy Curry who was almost immediately waived, took on Anthony Randolph who left as a free agent in 2012, and still have a 2015 second-round pick looming from Denver. They did however lose that trade as they parted with Koufos and Corey Brewer who are now both rotation caliber players, albeit Brewer has returned to Minnesota.)
But what’s interesting is that Kahn shopped Jefferson hard that summer, despite the fact that Jefferson was just 25 and coming off a very respectable bounce-back season after tearing his ACL the previous year. Utah used the TPE they had acquired from the Carlos Boozer trade to Chicago to absorb Jefferson, leaving Minnesota with a very shallow cap number that 2010 summer. Some of that money was spent on Luke Ridnour.
“The Kevin Love Contract Extension Fiasco”
Kevin Love signed a four-year extension in 2012 that included an opt-out after three years. Love had offered to take the full five years, thus committing himself to the franchise. Instead, according to Love, Kahn thought otherwise and thus signed Love to a shorter deal. At the time of the signing, Love was 23 years old and averaging 24 points and 14 rebounds.
The lack of foresight eventually gave Love enough ammunition to force his way out of Minnesota, and onto the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Overall the David Kahn experiment, which is probably the best word to describe it, was a rather trying period for Minnesota where very few things went their way. Flip Saunders however has managed to help the team acquire reliable assets for the future, and did end up turning Wesley Johnson, ultimately, into Kevin Martin. David Kahn would be proud. Or confused. Yeah, probably confused.
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