Question: How does it feel to be back?
David Kahn: “It feels good.”
Q: What is the next step?
DK: “Well, certainly from a planning standpoint, when we obtain the schedule, that will be really helpful. The other thing is that we don’t yet have any of the numbers, any of the procedural matters that are necessary to start really planning fiscally. We have rough ideas of course but we don’t have anything that you can really nail to the wall.”
Q: How’s this new deal?
DK: “Can’t talk about it. Lockout rules prohibit us from making in comment. Trades we can talk about it. We’re not making any trades right now, not today. As I’ve said pretty consistently, I like a lot of the players on this team a lot. I’m very excited to see them develop under Rick and his staff. That doesn’t mean we won’t do any pruning and tweaking between now and the start of the season, or even after the start of the season. No one should anticipate any wholesale roster movement between now and whenever we do start. I think Rick and I have talked about this, he’s very excited to see what he has. It will be very important to allow him and his staff a long period of time to really familiarize themselves with the roster.”
Q: When is Rick coming to town?
DK: “This weekend.”
Q: He cannot attend the player workouts?
DK: "No, as of now the only staff allowed in the training facility with the players is our medical staff, and they’re not allowed on the court; only allowed in the training and weight room. No coaches are allowed to observe.”
Q: Where is your team in terms of free-agency?
DK: “Well positioned.”
Q: Are you interested in free agency?
DK: “Well sure… Of course. We will look at every option as we always do. As I’ve said fairly consistently, there are only so many roster spots. By the definition if you like a lot of the players and are eager for the coaching staff to familiarize themselves with the players and really take a look at them….if you already like what you see, you can see by its very nature that we will not be as active as lot of teams will be.”
Q: What kind of challenge do you think Rick’s coaching staff has on their hands in terms of a young team with a short amount of time all trying to get on the same page?
DK: “A major challenge, and we know that. If camps open on Dec. 9 as they have said, and if the season opens on or about Dec. 25, as they’ve said, it seems to me that there will be a long training camp period. I’m hopeful for that because I do think they need that. Once we see the schedule we’ll be able to figure out the first few weeks and how intense they’ll be. In terms of that, with any new situation, no matter what, all the teams that have new staffs in place will be facing those same challenges. In our case the fact that we have 13 players under contract will be helpful. It shouldn’t be a revolving door with everyday someone new coming in, having to acclimate that person to what’s occurring. From a roster standpoint, as we position this, we’ll be fairly stable. And that will be helpful to the coaching staff as we move along.”
Q: Are you still looking to get a veteran in here… you said that was priority even before the lockout?
DK: “Yes, but again, keeping in concert with the roster that we currently have, I don’t want to send messages out that would be unfair meaning that certain people won't be here. We’ll need to examine that because I do think it’s a priority.”
Q: Would a background with Adelman help with adding said veteran… if you can bring in a guy that has played with him before?
DK: “Yeah, the good thing about Rick is that’s a lot of players. He’s coached so many years. What I’m trying to say is yes, but that’s a pretty wide net. I think that’s the case with any coach; that’s not specific to us.”
Q: Will you go to Mankato for camp?
DK: “Don’t know yet… we want to see the schedule first. I’m pretty sure that we will start here in Minneapolis as opposed to starting in Mankato. That’s all I want to say about that right now. We want to see these dates certain as they call them before we make any decisions on how we’ll spend the 17 days or so that we may have.
Q: What kind of team do you have? How do you think they will compete?
DK: I’m really looking forward to the season and I think most people are. I just sense in the community, the number of times that I have been stopped. They’re looking forward to this. Rather than, especially on Dec. 1 and become all wrapped up in this, that or the other, I’m really looking forward to this with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm and I hope that is shared by the community. It should be a fun year.”
Q: Has it been a difficult summer because you probably wanted to watch the progress of these guys over that time?
DK: “Oh, no question… It’s very hard. It weighs on you, sure.”
Q: Have you and Rick been able to talk about the strategy around the players and how he may use them? Have you had a chance to talk basketball?
DK: “Oh yeah, a lot… through the interview process, specifically, and after… I think one of the beauties of Rick, he’s demonstrated and is capable of really… he does have a core system so to speak but he’s never used that in a very confining way. He’s always changed the way he coaches according to his personnel. The way he wants to play philosophically matches perfect with mine; the same way we always want to play, which is up and down the court, within reason, with a lot of ball movement featuring passing and shooing – at least on the offensive end. And his teams have been very sound defensively, much more than people think because they’ve been so gifted offensively. But again the beauty of Rick is that he’s done it in so many different ways and has shown the ability to adjust on the fly, especially if you think about the injuries these last couple of years. It gives me a real peace of mind about all of this.”
Q: On players arriving...
DK: "As you know, one player's here today. I think others will start filtering in this weekend. I think we'll have a full set here by next Tuesday, or at least almost a full set by Tuesday, which I think is a heck of a sign of their excitement and enthusiasm as well for this coming year."
Q: Is there a different dynamic in the front office?
DK: "We're a little thinner, but that's by design. We've streamlined certain things and we've also added some muscle in an area that I think we needed to add some muscle. Something that's been important to me throughout, but we finally are doing some things in the statistical area that I hope we were kind of even with the curve, but I think this will maybe even put us a little bit ahead of the curve. R.J. Adelman's going to serve a role as not only helping on the personnel side, but also will kind of manage all of our game preparation and then work directly with the coaching staff on that. In effect, I've sort of assigned the video staff to him. An advanced scout will report to him. There's one other person in our front office who will report to him. I think that having a unit of game preparation/player personnel preparation and a deeper analytic approach, but also not so analytic that it doesn't include the intuition part of the business as well and the character checks and all the other stuff that comes along with scouting. But I think that will help us. It's kind of a strange year for us in that we have so many players under contract as it is, and another rookie in addition to Ricky, in Derrick and Malcolm Lee, who we may have on the team. But we don't have much flexibility when you think of these other teams that maybe do have only five players under contract and have so much work to do. In our case, it's more pruning. Also, we don't have a pick as it stands right now for this next draft. That could change, of course. It usually does. Last year it changed a lot through the draft. I think that this year, my main focus has been on making certain that we have every resource necessary for the coaching staff, the medical staff and then as I said kind of beefing up the game preparation, analytical piece of the business that R.J. will have. So those will be our primary areas of focus this year as far as I see it."
Q: Who will take over college scouting?
DK: "Really, I don't want to say there isn't an identifiable person, because ultimately everything is me. I'm the one that has to be ultimately responsible for it. In addition to R.J., we have two or three really capable, confident younger people on our staff who have been with us now for a couple years who I think have bright futures in our business. Part of the methodology that I'm using is I'd like to provide them opportunities to develop and grow themselves. So by doing so, I've put one of them, Manny Rohan, as a scouting coordinator who's in charge of sort of the day-to-day management of the scouts. But we have many regional scouts. I think we have six around the country. They'll continue to report up all the way up through the scouting coordinator, then ultimately up to me. Another one, Matt Bollero, is reporting to R.J. on the game preparation/personnel side. I'm very high on our video staff. I think we have two really young, capable, confident people there who have abilities beyond just breaking down the film. So hopefully, this will be an interesting year, allow them to kind of blossom and we can see what they can do and see if we can create a path for them to have success with our organization."
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