FanPost

AWoj: Adelman takes Wolves job despite David Kahn

One of the interesting bits about the decision by ex-Blazer coach Rick Adelman to accept the head coaching position with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is the general manager--David Kahn.  Long before Kahn became a hack GM in the Twin Cities, he was a hack sportswriter for The Oregonian--and of all the hacks that have worked the sports desk at the O, I can assure you that Kahn was by far the worst; he made John Canzano look like Frank Deford.  (Unfortunately, most of his stuff is located behind paywalls, if you can find it on the Internet at all...)  Younger Blazer fans will have to trust me on this one.

Adleman has made little secret of his dislike for Kahn, which makes his going to Minnesota a bit puzzling.

But now, Adrian Wojnarowski rreports [ed: link corrected]  that Adelman basically negotiated a deal with Wolves owner Glen Taylor that keeps Kahn out of his hair--and one that likely will result in the coach ooutlasting the GM.  While Kahn will nominally be his boss, Adelman will in reality report directly to the owner, and have no obligation whatsoever to play those player Kahn wants played.  A likely winner (among the players) will be Kevin Love--a key reason Adelman went to Minnesota, and a key reason Taylor is willing to pay big money for Adelman. 

It's worthwhile to recall, however, just went down in 1988-1989 that lead to the acrimony between the two men.

In the summer of 1986, the Blazers fired longtime coach Jack Ramsay, and hired Mike Schuler.  That season, despite losing projected starting center Sam Bowie to yet another broken leg, the team went 49-33, good for second place in the Pacific Division (behind the Lakers) before losing in the first round to the Houston Rockets.  The squad featured a starting lineup of Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Kiki Vandeweghe, Kenny Carr, and Steve Johnson at center, and was a high-scoring unit that unfortunately gave up nearly as many points as they scored.  The following season, more injuries felled the frontcourt--Bowie went down yet again before the season started, and Johnson, Carr, and Kiki all suffered injuries, and were replaced with Kevin Duckworth, Caldwell Jones, and Jerome Kersey.  This unit was better defensively and managed to win 53 games, but was once again bounced in the first round, this time to the physical Utah Jazz.  Expectations were high the following season, though, with the aforementioned players scheduled to return from injury.  In addition, the Blazers had a new owner, when Paul Allen bought the team from Larry Weinberg.

It was not to be.  Some of the former starters, not liking losing their jobs due to injury, raised a big stank, and there was a player revolt against Schuler, with a faction led by Drexler, Vandeweghe, and Johnson rather openly undermining the coach.  David Kahn, then still an O beat writer, supported this faction--at one point suggesting in his column that fans boycott the Blazers for failing to give the superior (in his mind) Vandeweghe his starting job back. (For an outsider's perspective on the controvery, read this old SI column by Jack McCallum--Drexler fans won't like it much as it's probably one of the more vicious hatchet jobs ever written about the Glide, but unfortunately, it was mostly accurate). 

The revolt succeeded in costing Schuler his job (giving Adelman his first shot).  However, the new players won out over the incumbents, if nothing else by default.  Carr never came back from his injury, Vandeweghe was shipped to New York for a draft pick, Johnson was left unprotected in the expansion draft and taken by (ironically) the TImberwolves, and Bowie traded over the summer to New Jersey for Buck Williams.

And Kahn?  He was fired by the Oregonian that summer.

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