Nicolas Batum will have to become twice the player he is to merit that deal
Hopefully David Khan never gets fired. The NBA would be a less interesting place without him.
How many other GMs would give Darko Milicic $20 million for four years?
How many GMs would give Kevin Love a four year contract with a player option when Love wanted to sign for five years?
How many GMs would deal one of the best low post scorers in the NBA (Al Jefferson) for Kosta Koufos and two first round picks (unless he knew the Jazz would have their season sabotaged by Deron Williams wanting out)?
He simply the gift that keeps on giving.
I love Nicolas Batum. Much like a Swiss Army Knife, Batum offers versatility. With three point range, solid offensive rebounding, superb length, and decent athleticism, Batum serves the role of a quality (albeit more offensively oriented) role player. Now, in a small market like Minnesota, with a punitive luxury tax on the horizon, can the Timberwolves afford to give a quality role player $46 million dollars over four seasons? Does any role player deserve an average salary of $11.5 million?
With more pressing needs to fill, Kahn might waste precious cap space on Batum. This is not the piece to move the Timberwolves into the Western Conference elite. As I said, the Timberwolves need an elite perimeter scorer. More importantly, they need a defensive anchor to pair with Kevin Love.
Instead, they might spend their cap space without making a vast improvement to their roster.
Normally, we would consider this a mistake and move on. However, since Love voiced his displeasure at not getting a five year contract (Yahoo), the countdown to his free agency has begun.
Both the Lakers and the Knicks are set to clear the decks for the Summer of 2015, when Love can opt out. While I do not believe he can win a title as the best player on a team, I believe that Love is the best star to pair with a superstar (especially a superb defensive player).
He is the ultimate second banana. His rebounding and passing make him this generation's Wes Unseld, and his scoring prowess pushes his game to heights beyond the Hall of Famer. If the Timberwolves fail to get that star to go with Love (or at least prove me wrong and build a title contender around him), then they can waive goodbye to the second greatest player in franchise history.
David Kahn was not given much by Kevin McHale when he took the position of GM for the Timberwolves. However, if he does not smarten up, he will lose the best thing McHale left behind for him.