LAS VEGAS - David Kahn, the owner of Reno's expansion NBDL team, has been attending the NBA Summer League the past few days to evaluate some of his future players, but mostly, to find a new head coach. Former Charlotte Bobcats coach Sam Vincent originally accepted the job, but changed his mind after the news conference already had been scheduled. Vincent, who was fired by the Bobcats after one season, had a year remaining on his contract, so he can be a little selective.
As for the new coach ... because the Reno franchise will be affiliated with the Kings, the plan is to hire someone whose offensive and defensive schemes are compatible with those favored by Reggie Theus. "If the Kings send down Sean Singletary or Patrick Ewing Jr., for example," said Kahn, "our coach would work with them on specific things the Kings believe they need help with.
The fact that Kahn has been friends with Geoff Petrie for more than 20 years suggests the potential for a close connection between the franchises. An Oregon native, Kahn is a former sportswriter for the Portland Oregonian who earned his law degree from NYU, worked for the NBA legal firm in Manhattan before for a few years, and later became Donnie Walsh's special assistant with the Indiana Pacers.
Building a beauty
Whether or not the NBDL evolves into the type of minor-league system NBA types hope, Kahn already has made a nice name for himself within the industry. Yes, he was a decent sportswriter; he was even more creative when it came to Conseco Fieldhouse, still the jewel of NBA arenas. This was his baby, everything from the original (and unique) concept, to the financing mechanisms, to the political and promotional matters.
"It wasn't really our idea," said Kahn, laughing. "We stole it from baseball. Baseball had been building these kinds of structures (that retain unique, old style facades) for a number of years. We asked the question, 'Why not put basketball in a place where the game really matters and shows an appreciation of its history?' It was a baseball idea we made relevant to basketball."
"When I look at Sacramento, any new arena should be relevant to the local community. It has to be about their history - it doesn't have to be about basketball - but I suspect something featuring the gold rush. Just pick a concept or a theme that makes the people that live there feel that it's their place. It should be about Sacramento, about the state capital, about the region's history. It should be a place where, if you picked it up and placed it somewhere else, it wouldn't work ... Obviously it's got to have some connection to sports, and, yes, obviously the Kings will be the driving force with 41 home dates. But they truly do need a better facility for family shows, other sporting events. People sometimes forget that these facilities are shared not just by people who are basketball fans, (but those) who go to concerts, other events. I'm sure there are people who have been to Conseco who have never even been to a Pacers game.
The next season
The NBDL is targeting Thanksgiving week for its 2008-09 season opener