David Kahn has done some weird, unexplainable things lately. Like signing Darko Milicic to a $20 million contract. Like drafting point guard… after point guard… after point guard. Like trading away Al Jefferson for cap space and a lump of coal, and then using some of the cap space to sign Luke Ridnour for $16 million. It’s become quite clear that Kahn doesn’t exactly have a plan, or — in the small chance that he does — it’s a very incoherent one, at best.
1. Give yourself a handicap – Everyone can build a team if they do it the right way. Just look at Sam Presti. But not everyone can throw $20 million down the drain to one of the biggest busts in NBA history and THEN make a miraculous sprint to the winner’s circle. Not only do you have to win, but you have to do it against all odds.
2. Sign (or trade for) a pot head – One of the biggest steps to winning Kahn. It’s not enough to win basketball games, you have to win despite as many disadvantages as possible. Who wants to win if you’re going to be sober every night you take the court? Not me. There’s no fun in that. Cue Michael Beasley. Rehab before the age of 21? Check. Taking pictures with bags that look very much like weed? Check. Classic underacheiver? Check. Kahn’s gotta level the playing field somehow, and players who love drugs are a good way to do that.
3. Shop your best player around so hard he loses all trade value – It’s not enough to ship your best player somewhere else. You also have to trade him away after weeks of desperately looking to send him off, so that other teams know how desperate you are and won’t give you equal value. You have to seem so desperate that the only player you get in return for your best player is, get this, Kosta Koufos. Remember, winning isn’t enough. You also have to overcome as many obstacles as possible.
4. Sign, draft or trade for your point guard of the future, and then sign four or five more – Listen, if you’re going to win Kahn, things can’t be easy. It’s not enough to draft a Spanish stud in the first round, then convince him to come to the United States and watch him win games. No, you have to draft him and then alienate him by drafting a dozen other point guards. And then you have to sign another one to a free agent contract. And then you have to wait a year, then sign yet another point guard, but this one has to be worse than all your current point guards. Allowing a Spanish stud to win you games is too easy. But wooing him after years of alienating him? Now THAT is winning Kahn.
5. Don’t restrict yourself with a plan – Any old R.C. Buford, Pat Riley or Sam Presti can succeed by having a plan and sticking to it. It takes a real GM to make head-scratching move after mind-boggling move and still come away with a winner. So don’t hold yourself back by trying to put together a Super Team, or clearing cap space to rebuild, or trying to sign veteran free agents to as small a contract as possible. That’s not the point of winning Kahn. You’ve got to set yourself up to fail, and then rise from the ashes. You’ve got to scrape the ground on your way to the top. You’ve got to pretend like you’ve got no idea what you’re doing, when in reality you’re always a step ahead.
Winning Kahn ain’t easy, folks. But it sure beats winning the old-fashioned way.