Timberwolves GM wanted to lure Duke's Mike Krzyzewski to Min

 

The coaching carousel in Minnesota took an unlikely turn as Kurt Rambis was being thrown off and Bernie Bickerstaff was preparing to jump on.
 
The ride operator, Timberwolves GM David Kahn, made a run at Mike Krzyzewski.
Talk about a waste of time. Coach K once turned down a chance to go to the Lakers and coach Kobe Bryant in his prime. Did Kahn really think that he could get Krzyzewski to leave his Duke kingdom? He did.
 
"He tried to get him," said one Kahn confidante.
 
Kahn was looking for a miracle or two. The other miracle is turning Ricky Rubio into a first-rate NBA point guard. As he showed over the last two seasons in Spain, the T-Wolves' No. 1 draft pick of 2009 can't shoot consistently or beat people off the dribble. That was versus inferior competition in Europe. Now he's supposed to be able to do those things against the top players in the world?
 
No wonder Krzyzewski isn't running to the Twin Cities anytime soon.
 
"It's unfortunate that Ricky Rubio is now going to be the face of that franchise, because he just isn't good enough as a player," said one NBA head coach. "They're doing that kid a great disservice."
 
Kahn wants Rubio to help change the T-Wolves into a team that plays small, pushes the ball and goes with an entirely new, up-tempo look. While contemplating Rambis' replacement, he gave Mike D'Antoni serious thought, based on what he did with Steve Nash in Phoenix. But it never got to the point where he asked the Knicks for permission to talk to their head coach.
 
Too bad for D'Antoni.
 
Entering the final season on his contract, he hasn't been able to get a one-year extension from Jim Dolan. If the T-Wolves had called, D'Antoni might have gotten his year. Or quite possibly, he might have gotten his freedom. With Donnie Walsh out of the picture, D'Antoni has very few allies in the Garden these days.
 
"Mike asked for a year and the Knicks haven't told him anything," said a team source this past week.
 
Meanwhile, Kahn is going ahead with his plan to bring in Bickerstaff, the veteran NBA coach and executive, and father of J.B. Bickerstaff, a highly regarded Timberwolves' assistant. The plan is for Bernie to hand the job off to his son in a year or two.
 
But friends of J.B. have been urging him this past week to leave the franchise, because it's never going to get better with Kahn in charge. That's hard to argue, looking at his body of work since assuming GM duties in 2009.
 
The Rambis hire was a disaster from day one. Drafting Rubio and Jonny Flynn with back-to-back picks was absurd. Paying Darko Milicic $20 million last summer was baffling. We'll stop there. You get the picture.
 
Kahn didn't do badly on draft night. He took Arizona forward Derrick Williams with the second pick. Some GMs felt that Cleveland should have made him its top pick and then used its No. 4 pick to select a point guard. Those executives are in the camp that doesn't believe that Kyrie Irving will develop into an elite playmaker, or help Dan Gilbert make good on his vow to lead the Cavs to a title before LeBron James does.
 
Others feel that Irving will do what everyone wants their point guard to do - make others better - and in the next few seasons become one of the elite playmakers in the game.
 
As for what happens out in Minnesota, with Kahn running the show, there are no guarantees.
 
PIP-SWAWKING   
Michael Jordan wound up with Congo forward Bismack Biyombo, a potential Ben Wallace clone, and UConn's undersized point guard Kemba Walker in the first round, giving Scottie Pippen more ammo to unload on his old teammate. Pippen doesn't think much of Jordan's ability to evaluate talent and makes no secret about it. After this latest draft, Pippen told pals, "He doesn't have a clue." . . . Three players being shopped and likely to get moved before the start of next season, whenever that is: Lamar Odom, Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith. . . . With Jimmer Fredette's addition to a backcourt featuring Tyreke Evans, Sacramento doesn't have a playmaker, but the answer might come in free agency, whenever that is. The Kings plan on making a pitch for the Suns' Aaron Brooks, who is restricted. Phoenix made him a qualifying offer on Thursday.
 
PARKER BACKS IT DOWN
Tony Parker might be right. The Spurs' last chance to win a title in the Tim Duncan era might have come this past season when they won the West and flamed out in the first round against Memphis. But as he learned, he is not supposed to tell reporters back home in France, "(the Spurs) can no longer say we're playing for a championship." Here was the Spurs' reaction: Oh, really? OK, Tony, how'd you like to go play in Sacramento? Or, how does Portland sound?
 
Scared to death of being banished to the ends of the earth, Parker backed off his comments. Satisfied that their point guard was back with the program, the Spurs then turned around on draft night and traded his backup, George Hill, to the Pacers. You would have thought that they had moved Duncan in his prime. General manager R.C. Buford called it "one of the most difficult nights in Spurs history since we've been here." In fact, it wasn't. As much as they liked Hill's work ethic, they had no intention of meeting his salary demands. So for the first time in the Gregg Popovich era, they traded up in a draft, obtaining San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard. He fell to No. 15 because he can't shoot, but he's exactly the kind of athlete the Spurs have been lacking. . . . Pacers president Larry Bird tried to trade for Hill, an Indianapolis native and IUPUI grad, last summer before he acquired Darren Collison from the Hornets. Now Hill and Collison will be in competition for the starting point guard spot.

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