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September 11, 2009 Posted by | Hall of Fame | , , , , | 28 Comments

Did Rubio Con A Kahn Or Was Minnie Marburied Again? Part 3 of 3

Kahn-Rubio Torn Apart

KHAN’S MOVE FOR RUBIO — A CLASSIC GAMBIT

David Kahn’s move, to draft Ricky Rubio despite his immediate inavailability, was right out of Red Auerbach’s playbook.  In 1978 on draft day, the Celtics had both the 6th and 8th first round picks.  Auerbach was widely criticized for using the 6th spot to draft Larry Bird as a “junior eligible.”  Bird had already been in college for four years but had one more year of eligibility left which meant Red had to wait a year for Bird.  He used the 8th spot to draft Division 1 star Freeman Williams, who never played for the Celtics but was involved in a major trade; the exchange included #31 1981 pick (Danny Ainge).  Owning the 8th spot allowed Auerbach to take the risk, but in order to retain Bird’s rights, Auerbach had to reach an agreement with Bird before the next draft.  Eventually and reluctantly Auerbach agreed to pay Bird  $650,000, the highest rookie salary ever at the time.  Auerbach was confident, but the success of the move was not certain.

Without such a bold move, it is highly unlikely that Bird would have been the greatest Celtic of all time.  Perhaps, he would have been a Knick.

And lest we forget, another General Manager “genius” Bob Bass was criticized for using the #1 pick in 1987 to draft David “The Admiral” Robinson although he had two years of a naval commitment to serve after graduation. The Spurs faced a special quandary which led to speculation that Robinson might not sign with San Antonio within a year and attempt to force free agency so that he could be courted by the Lakers or the Knicks.  Didn’t happen.  David Robinson became one of the greatest Spurs ever.

David Kahn is less a fool than fans with short memories or no historical reference.  Kahn was very clear when he released Kevin McHale that he was in rebuilding mode and that it would take a couple of years to bring the team back to contention.  He does not need Rubio now.  He can build his team patiently, with “all deliberate speed” and wait for Rubio to mature as a person and a baller.  The odds are greater than not that Rubio will increase in value in two years – he will add bulk and probably a jump shot. This will happen on someone else’s Euro, not his dime.  Rubio also won’t require mommy to move to the states with him. (I admit that when I moved from Chicago to Jersey at age 18, I wanted my mommy to come with me. . . .but, then I got there. . . LOL).

Immediately after the Rubio deal fell through, Kahn was still working to build his team his way.  Within two days of his heartbreak, Kahn pushed the Knicks and Clippers out of the way to sign young point guard Ramon Sessions who had been a free agent in waiting for most of the summer. With a more seasoned young guard, Kahn and Rambis will get a better idea over the next couple of  years how their high octane offense is going to work with Flynn and a guard who can shoot better than the Spaniard.

This summer, in three moves, Kahn potentially, if his dual point guard offense works, has solidified his back court for five years, very inexpensively.  Jonny Flynn has a four year contract with two consecutive team options beginning in 2011.  Rubio becomes available via buyout by 2011. The Wolves hold his NBA rights until one year after he discontinues playing pro ball for another team.  Sessions has a four year contract which carries until 2012-13. 

Every pick is a risk, but the rewards regarding Rubio are promising. Kahn has created numerous options which include using Rubio’s rights in a future trade or developing two solid points in Flynn and Sessions and eventually trading one of them for a missing piece.  For now, the Wolves may be more of a threat to enter the 2010 draft lottery than the Western Conference playoffs, but with a young core of Jonny Flynn, Al Jefferson, Ramon Sessions, Kevin Love and Wayne Ellington, their development should be exciting to watch over the next couple years.

 

WOLVES’ DEEP IMPACT ON KNICKS

Kahn has been a thorn in the Knicks behind all summer, since he traded for the fifth pick.  It was rumored that Walsh and the Knicks were trying to move up in the draft in order to secure either Rubio or Stephen Curry.  Although it was believed that Walsh would be happy with Jared Hill falling to the Knicks, everyone knew the Knicks needed a solid back-up/soon-to-be-starter to work with or replace Duhon to operate D’Antoni’s offense.  By drafting both Flynn and Rubio, the Knicks felt forced to a less satisfying option and remained in a quandary regarding how to address the point guard issue.

Nevertheless, the Knicks smartly purchased a late first round pick from the Lakers and turned it into a solid ACC guard, Toney Douglas, who many expect will be a pleasant surprise as a team leader, floor conductor and scorer.  This is a great opportunity for him to step up and fill the void that Walsh could not.

It appears that while Walsh is playing checkers, jumping over pieces without taking any, Kahn is playing chess like a GM (grandmaster or general manager, pick one).  Kahn who had touted running a two guard up-tempo offense, immediately went after free agent Ramon Sessions, who was looking for an opportunity to save him from lesser contracts with the Knicks, Clippers or Bucks.  The Knicks had been very interested in Sessions, but refused to reel him in with a multi-year deal.   Throughout the blogosphere, hyper-hopeful Knicks fans were hypothesizing that Walsh, with his patented “patience”, was waiting Sessions out.  But the truth has been revealed and it was Sessions who was being patient.  Clearly lacking confidence that they could create more cap space by eventually trading Jared Jeffries or Eddie Curry, Walsh just watched as Sessions walked out of the free agent corner he was supposedly trapped in into a 4-year, $16 million deal. (Compare that to the 2-year $13 million dollar deal Walsh gave Chris Duhon to scare away Marbury).

Kahn’s move is being interpreted by some as a sign that he has given up on Rubio and will eventually trade his rights to the Knicks.  This is not necessarily so, nor is it necessary.  In fan imaginations, New York is the penultimate venue for big time“athletepreneurs”  and the place every one wants as a home. Some Knicks fans will be pining ad nauseam for OPP Rubio for two years, longer than the lap dance they are giving OPP LeKing of Akron.   In this case, the reality is that Rubio’s only way into the NBA is through Minnesota, unless he sits out a year which makes absolutely no sense.  Consequently, the only way Rubio becomes a Knick, even with covert interference by the commissioner, is with the blessing of Kahn.

Kahn has shown that he doesn’t give a damn about how the Knicks develop their team.  He is clearly focused on building the Timberwolves. Any harm to the Knicks probably is not personal, just collateral damage from the maneuverings of a general manager who understands that to build a contender you start the team core with homegrown youth, complimentary trades and expert use of exceptions to the salary cap.

On second thought, Kahn’s moves may help Knicks fans by demonstrating how being “patient but proactive” is a better strategy than what their team is employing now.

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Previous Related Posts:

Did Rubio Con A Kahn or Was Minnie Marburied Again? Part 2 of 3

Did Rubio Con A Kahn or Was Minnie Marburied Again? Part 1 of 3

Chapter One Of Rubio Buyout Story Coming To A Close

Timberwolves GM Refutes Story Of Rubio Contract: “No Team in any league has reached a deal.”

Rubio Reportedly Will Sign Six-Year Contract With Regal Barcelona

Fanatics Pre-Draft Scouting Report: Ricky Rubio

IS BRANDON JENNINGS PLAYING THE MEDIA (AND US) WITH RUBIO DISS?

Brandon Jennings says F*ck the Knicks and Chris Duhon Ain’t Gettin it Done

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Donnie Walsh, New York Knicks, Rick Rubio | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments