It has been proven, through the course of 201 career games, that Kurt Rambis is not someone who should be a head coach at the NBA level.
His rotation choices have been poor. He doesn't properly match his rosters with offensive or defensive sets that suit their skills. He can be frequently seen standing still or saying nothing at all when an opposing offense makes an offensive breakthrough, where most other coaches would stomp and clap and point to the open guy who is leaking out to the corner. In two different stops, he hadn't had the full respect of his players. And whether his team is led by Kobe and Shaq, or Kevin Love and Jonny Flynn, the guy hasn't won. As of this writing, he's still the coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and though it's cruel to be as direct as this, he probably doesn't deserve that job.
But he also certainly doesn't deserve to be treated this way.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Timberwolves GM David Kahn will fire Rambis after Thursday's draft, which is the right course of events done completely the wrong way. As it sits, Rambis will either have to sit through his team's draft (Minnesota has the second overall pick, and thanks to Kahn they're involved in more trade rumors than any other team) and possibly even meet the media to explain why the Wolves went in the direction they went in with the selection and/or trade. Then he'll get the axe. All after being strung along in the nine weeks following the season, all because Kahn was too chicken-[shark!] to do what had to be done the proper way.
Rambis needed to be let go the day after the season ended, or even midway through 2010-11 in order to possibly find some forward thrust for the Wolves as they closed out the year while seeking out a potential long-term replacement. He didn't need to be asked to file some pathetic sort of team report to Kahn, as Kahn demanded, about his hopes and expectations for the terrible roster that Kahn provided him. He didn't deserve to be ignored by Kahn following season's end, in a way that was as unprecedented as it was tactless. And if Kahn is going to fire the guy, then do it now, rather than later. Don't make Rambis, who clearly isn't suited for a head coaching gig, wait yet another event out.
We make fun of Kahn when he puts his foot in his mouth, and we make fun of his moves with the Timberwolves. A lot of it is good fun, most of it is shooting fish in a barrel, and nearly all of it is done with a muted heavy heart. Mainly because Minnesota deserves better than this guy. Those are all jokes, though. Rip jobs, ha-ha turns meant to drive yet another column and/or blog post.
But this? This is just wrong. Rambis performed poorly with the Timberwolves, there's no denying that. He should not be back for 2011-12, and if money was no consideration (and I was in charge) he wouldn't have been back for 2010-11. But if anyone else were in charge, Rambis would have been dealt with properly. With the respect and professional courtesy that he, and any other employee at any level, deserves. And Kahn has failed not only as Timberwolves GM, but in the most basic, human terms. It's one thing to blow a draft pick, or a trade. It's another to treat another person being this way.
Just count the days, Minnesota. For all we know Kahn could pull off a masterpiece of a trade on Thursday, or take in a fantastic player in Derrick Williams. And your team should improve with a new and different coach. Things will be better. But things won't be great, until David Kahn has moved on. Deservedly, in as unceremonious and disrespectful a way as he's handled his working relationship with Kurt Rambis.
- Kurt Rambis
- Minnesota Timberwolves