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Cursing the name of Kahn

July 3, 2010

Because of the Minnesota Timberwolves, guys like William Shatner and Ricardo Montalban become regular images in my head.

Let me explain.

In the movie "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," the villain, Khan, played by Montalban, continues on a cat-and-mouse game with Captain Kirk (played by Shatner), threatening the hero's life. When Khan makes one last threat, Shatner screams "KHAN" to the heavens, showing his frustrations and providing the pinnacle of Shatner's overacting career.

Why is this relevant to the Timberwolves? Because of the bone-headed ploys to improve the team by general manager David Kahn, Wolves fans, whatever ones remain, are left to yell "KAHN" to the sky in anger.

Back when he took the job in May last year, there seemed to be a cautious optimism around Kahn. After destroying Kevin Garnett's prime in Minnesota with a hot-headed supporting cast, the Joe Smith fiasco and draft choices like Ndudi Ebi and William Avery, he couldn't be worse than former GM Kevin McHale, right?


Kahn has certainly kept himself busy, trading productive pieces like Craig Smith, Quentin Richardson, Randy Foye, Mike Miller and Ryan Gomes for expiring contracts and draft picks. The Wolves GM wanted to have the pieces to entice free agents for this summer's spending bonanza.

The problem is teams like the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and Miami Heat, more prestigious and successful teams, did the same thing, and did it much better.

I'm sure Kahn wasn't too idealistic in thinking Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh or LeBron James would actually come to Minnesota. But the Wolves could have put up big money for Johnson, or other second-tier free agents like Rudy Gay, David Lee or Carlos Boozer.

Instead, the team spent $20 million and invested four years into Darko Milicic, whose name will run rampant in trivia books before a Hall of Fame ballot. Kahn also signed Nikola Pekovic, a second-round pick two years ago with no NBA experience, to a three-year, $13 million contract.

If having zero NBA experience can get you that kind of money, give me a ring, Kahn. I'm under six foot and take up a lot of space in the paint, but I can wave a towel and dance haphazardly like Mark Madsen for that amount of bank.

Milicic has toiled in the league for years now as that guy drafted AFTER LeBron, and before the ridiculous offer, mulled playing in Europe next season. Instead of going after guys who proved they can play in the NBA, Kahn takes fliers on never-was players and players with "untapped potential" like Pekovic and Martell Webster.

Plus, we're all waiting another season for the mopped-top savior of our morbid franchise, Ricky Rubio. That's assuming he wants to play for a rudderless team looking to trade its best piece, forward Al Jefferson.

It's hard to tell if Kahn is running the team into the ground or trying to run it to another town. Even Seattle may not be desperate enough to take the Wolves after losing the Supersonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So prepare for another season of empty seats, revolving-door lineups and a coach in Kurt Rambis who looks on the verge of insanity at every post-game news conference.

And prepare for another season of Wolves fans imitating Shatner by screaming "KAHN" at their TV sets.



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