Sports Has Been Trumped!!

It’s difficult to know what goes on inside a team’s sanctuaries – in the locker-room, in the huddle and elsewhere players and coaches and management interact away from public scrutiny. It’s even harder when you’re not around the team every day. But from this view in the rafters, this is what I see: Kevin McHale is delusional.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves long-time executive (I refused henceforth describe him as “former Celtic great” because nothing he’s done since deserves to be noted in the same phrase) fired head coach Dwane Casey with the team possessing a .500 record (20-20) and sitting in the eighth playoff position in the difficult Western Conference. McHale cited the team’s inconsistency and said, “We don’t want to be the eighth seed. I think we’re better than the eighth seed.”

He’s got to be kidding. Let’s see. The teams ahead of the T-Wolves are Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio, Utah, the Lakers, Houston and Denver. With Kevin Garnett and an interchangeable cast of youngsters and mid-level talents (which McHale has changed many times to little avail), the T-Wolves might have been better than seventh-seeded Denver before the team traded for Allen Iverson. Now, especially with Carmelo Anthony back, well, as I said, McHale is delusional.

Casey had barely one-and-a-half seasons and was a first-time head coach after many years as an assistant. He was 33-49 in 2005-06, but that season was discombobulated by an aight-player trade that pretty much took the team back to square one.

Whule I was surprised at the firing, I wasn’t. We are now in the midst of the “You’re Fired” Era in sports. Administrators in all sports, college and pro, no longer hire coaches and give them any time to build a program and endure the natural vicissitudes of the journey. Sometimes, it’s the public crying for a beheading. Other times it’s us in the media. And sometimes it’s just ineffective and insecure GMs trying to cover their own mistakes and short-comings by firing the coach.

This seeems to fall into the latter category. The bottom line is that McHale and owner Glen Taylor have been unable to build a champinionship-caliber team around Garnett, one of the best players of this generation. Their best shot was the team led by Garnett, Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell. But McHale couldn’t keep the group together and the team has not been as good since.

Even when Garnett publicly called – pleased – for McHale to get Iverson when the Sixers said he would be traded, McHale couldn’t get it done.

All that said, Casey’s team was respectable. Heck, if he’d been the Knicks head coach with that record, he’d be called The Miracle Worker.

McHale should be the one to go in Minnesota, not Casey.


5 thoughts on “Sports Has Been Trumped!!

  1. Anything that causes the demise of Kevin McHale makes me happy. He won’t trade with the Lakers because of his animosity, even though the Lakers and Celtics have traded with each other for years. He gave Garnett $126 mil, and then found out that he couldn’t build a team around him. Oh well. Kevin McHale, the Matt Millen of the NBA.

  2. Mark says:

    Is McHale waiting for Bird to come out of retirement to get help for KG? Or maybe he’s working out Dennis Johnson for some stability at the point.

    Unless they get rid of McHale KG will be the prettiest girl at the dance with no date.

  3. ahalperin says:

    Nice post — I couldn’t agree more. It’s not unlike the famous Parcells’ quote regarding “cooking”: before he’s held accountable for the meal, he needs to have a say in the ingredients. You can’t give a guy sub-par talent and expect him to do the impossible, which is exactly what McHale did in this case.

  4. Juan says:

    Great photo of Casey!

    Papers in MPLS-SP are all over McHale for the firing. He’s a local kid too. He’s killing his rep in that town. He’s a MPLS-SP legend and he’s about killed all that goodwill.

    Polls in MPLS-SP are all against McHale overwhelmingly.

    McHale, if you recall, cost the TWolves draft picks for about 4 years because of all those shenanigans in dealing with Joe Smith. Remember that? That is probably why that franchise is in trouble.

  5. Dwayne Casey will find another coaching job soon. Kevin McHale is typical of great sports star when they become general managers or club presidents they are not as successful. Minnesota have fun with Kevin running the show.

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