Kevin McHale: Good Player, Bad GM
Kevin McHale always seems to be on the worst side of things in the NBA. He has made many mistakes as the Vice President of Basketball Operations with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It didn't all start bad for McHale. One of his first moves as VP was hiring Flip Saunders to be head coach. Saunders proved to be one of the elite coaches over the years.
McHale also drafted Kevin Garnett fifth overall in 1995 NBA Draft, Garnett is now arguably one of the best power forwards to play the game, if not the best.
During the 1996 NBA Draft, McHale drafted Ray Allen, who is now best three point shooter in NBA history, but traded him for Stephon Marbury. That trade was the first in a long and still growing list of bad choices by McHale.
After the 1995 NBA Draft, it all went downhill. Before the '98-99 season, McHale worked out a secret deal with Joe Smith, where Smith agreed to sign three one-year deals with the Wolves for below his market value. In return he recieved a promise that the Wolves would sign him to a multi-year deal before the '00-01 season.
NBA commissioner David Stern found out and voided Smith's contract, making him a free agent. Stern also took three of the next five first round draft picks from the Wolves. With one of their picks, McHale selected Ndubi Ebim, who is probably the biggest bust of McHale's picks.
The Wolves also took Rick Rickert from the University of Minnesota in the second round. Many thought it was a sympathy pick on McHale's part.
Rickert never made the team and got in a fight with All-Star Kevin Garnett. Rickert was released and is no longer in the NBA. McHale did get Garnett help prior to the '03-04 season trading for Sam Cassell, Latrell Spreewell, and Ervin Johnson.
The Wolves made it to the Western Conference finals, but lost to the Lakers in five games.
On October 31, 2004 the Minnesota Timberwolves offered Sprewell a 3-year, $21 million contract extension. Sprewell declined, stating that he had a family to feed. Spree was released, and is still waiting for the phone to ring.
After the '04-05 season, the Wolves traded a disgruntled Cassell to the Los Angeles Clippers for Marko Jaric.
Jaric was a joke, and was yet another McHale player who didn't develop as planned. On top of that, the trade involved a condition in which the Wolves would surrender their first-round draft pick if it was a lottery pick. That has to be one of the worst trade stipulations in history.
Half way through the '05 season, McHale fired Flip Saunders and took over the coaching duties to finish out the season. While he did end with a 19-12 record, he did not continue to coach. Dwayne Casey was hired during the 2005 off-season.
The Wolves selected Brandon Roy sixth overall during the 2006 NBA Draft, only to trade swap him with Randy Foye, who the Portland Trailblazers selected seventh overall. Roy won Rookie of the Year during the 2006-2007 season, while Foye missed most of the season due to an injury.
Casey barely lasted four months with the Wolves before McHale sent him packing on January 23, 2007. Randy Wittman took over head coaching for the remainder of the 2007 season.
Despite missing the playoffs in 2007, The Wolves announced that McHale and Wittman would be coming back: Mchale as VP of Operations and Wittman as Head Coach.
Prior to the '07-08 season, the Timberwolves agreed to trade Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics. Garnett was sent to Boston for five players, (Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and Gerald Green) and two first round draft picks.
KG would go on to be a critical part of the Celtic's 2008 championship team.
The Timberwolves finished the 2008 season 22-60. That record gave the Wolves a shot at the top three college players: Derrick Rose of Memphis, Micheal Beasley of Kansas State, and O.J. Mayo of USC. The Wolves ended up with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft. Rose was selected first overall by the Chicago Bulls, Beasley was selected second by the Miami Heath, so the the Wolves drafted Mayo. Mayo was swapped with Kevin Love, who was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies fifth overall. In that trade the Wolves received not only Love, but former Sixth Man of the Year Mike Miller, who is a premier shooter himself. Love was traded because McHale liked him during the workouts.
The Wolves also drafted NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Mario Chalmers in the second round, and sent him to Miami. Of the two trades made that day, neither seemed to work like McHale wanted. But than again when has a McHale trade ever worked out?
Today, O.J. Mayo is averaging 21.9 points per game, while Kevin Love and Mike Miller combined are only averaging 20.7 points per game. Mayo is considered to be the only player to challenge Derrick Rose for the Rookie Of The Year award. Love, however, is not starting and plays 20 minutes a game.
Mario Chalmers is averaging 9.3 points per game, and has started all 20 games for the Miami Heat. The Wolves trade away 39.3 points per night if you combine the two players.
On December 8th 2008, the Timberwolves fired head coach Randy Wittman, and McHale once again took over head coach duties, and stepped down from Vice President of Basketball Operations.
Maybe, with Mchale stepping down, the Wolves may finally make some good front office decisons.
Only time will tell.
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