"Khan" New G.M. Turn Minnesota Timberwolves Around?

Andrew KoritzCorrespondent IMay 23, 2009

Admit it. You could care less about the epic Denver/Los Angeles western conference showdown. And the Dwight Howard/LeBron James matchup in the east? Boring.

No, the real drama over the past few weeks has been who the juggernaut Minnesota Timberwolves would hire as general manager. On Friday, owner Glen Taylor unveiled his new man, David Kahn, as the upper midwest displayed a collective yawn.

Khan, who worked in Indiana earlier in the decade under Donny Walsh, was not exactly Minnesota's first choice. Or second choice. Or third choice. So you can't exactly blame the remainder of the dwindling fan base for being upset with this hire. The search process has made Taylor look like Raiders owner Al Davis, without the senility defense.

At Friday's introductory press conference, Kahn appeared as a confident (cocky?) individual who spoke of a team on the rise that possessed the assets to reach contention quickly. It remains unclear if Fred Hoiberg will remain in the front office in any capacity, although that appears to be likely given that Kahn comes in with more of a financial background instead of one in evaluating players.

The bigger question is whether Kevin McHale will return as coach. Speculation swirled that Taylor's insistence on McHale staying aboard may have scared off the other candidates, but Khan said no decision has been made and the two men will talk soon.

Kahn appeared to be a strong speaker and the hire is boosted by ringing endorsements from Walsh, Larry Bird and Larry Brown. However, talk can only take someone so far and with three first round picks, ample salary cap space and desirable contracts for trades, the pressure will be on for Kahn to turn things around quickly, even if noone expects the team to become a contender overnight.

Whether it is McHale back on the bench next year or a new coach (Sam Mitchell?), expectations will have risen since the club showed some major progress before Al Jefferson's season-ending injury last season.

It won't exactly be tough for Kahn to top McHale's run as a front office executive, but he will need to show consistent progress for an owner desperately trying to keep fans coming into Target Center.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.