Posted at 1:10 PM on June 17, 2009
by Chris Dall
Minnesota Timberwolves General Manager David Kahn just wrapped up a press conference to discuss the team's decision not to retain Kevin McHale as coach. From the glowing tones in which he spoke of McHale, you'd never know that Kahn didn't want him around anymore.
Kahn repeatedly acknowledged McHale's strengths as a coach and teacher, but said that ultimately he realized there were obstacles that would be difficult to surmount. Kahn never elaborated on what those obstacles were, but he did say that the decision was difficult, especially when it involved a person with McHale's abilties and reputation. "Kevin McHale has enormous gifts," he said. "But at this time we have to make a change." When asked about Glen Taylor's role, Kahn reiterated that the decision was his to make.
As for the reaction of the players, many of whom were openly lobbying for McHale to remain as coach, Kahn said he told the players that he felt it was important to maintain the comraderie and "upbeat spirit" that McHale had instilled going forward. He said he had not heard any players express a desire to be moved because of his decision.
Kahn was asked several questions about what kind of coach he is looking for, but did not get into specifics. He said that there is no list of names, and there will not be until after the draft. When asked if he felt that he might have to hire a big name coach to get fan attention, Kahn said he felt that would be more of a marketing move, and that ultimately to win back fans you have to win. He said any coach would have to understand it will be a few years before the team wins.
As for the draft and any potential trade scenarios, Kahn focused more on the big picture. He said he realizes the team needs help, that management needs to obtain players that make sense beyond the immediate future, and that picking players based on personality would be a mistake.