Rick Adelman reportedly won’t be back as Timberwolves coach
Rick Adelman’s tenure as the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves is over after only three underwhelming seasons, according to the venerable and surprisingly still well-connected Star Tribune sportscolumnist Sid Hartman.
Hartman writes on Thursday that a source of factors ultimately will contribute to Adelman’s departure, beginning and ending with the health of his wife, Mary Kay, whom has experienced some health issues over the past few years, sometimes so severe that Adelman has missed games to be by her side.
Both the Timberwolves and Adelman have an opt-out clause that cancels out the fourth year on the coach’s deal but most in the know believe that the only question remaining is which side will exercise it.
The Wolves believed the only indication of a successful season would be a trip to the playoffs for the first time in ten seasons, but the team’s inability to close out close games — the team lost its first eleven games this season that were decided by four points or fewer — along with a February slide, doomed any postseason aspirations.
Wednesday’s double-overtime loss to the Utah Jazz also thwarted Minnesota’s bid to finish the season at .500 as the team ended up with a 40-42 record.
Between his wife’s health issues and the perception that Adelman isn’t the right fit for a young team due to his impatience with inexperienced players, the writing may in fact be on the wall, although Adelman wasn’t interested in revealing his thoughts following Wednesday’s game.
“I’m not going to say anything about that right now,” he said, via the Star Tribune. “I need to sit down with Glen and Flip and we need to talk about the situation. Then it will be determined. As I said before, I want these guys to finish the season out and I’ve asked them to stay with it. Don’t start looking ahead, thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Get this win tonight.
“That’s how I tried to approach it. If I did it any other way, I wouldn’t be doing what I asked them to do.”
Wolves owner Glenn Taylor recently said family ultimately will be the determining factor on whether Adelman stays or goes.
“I think that a lot of it has to do with [Adelman’s] family and what he thinks is best for his family,” Taylor said. “I know he loves coaching, so that’s not the issue. I just think he has to determine what’s in the best interest for his family right now.”
If this is the end of the line for Adelman, it likely will close the book on a wonderfully successful NBA coaching career that began in 1989 with the Portland Trail Blazers that continued with stops with Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, and finally, the T’Wolves.
If he hangs it up, Adelman’s coaching pedigree puts him among the best, as he currently sits at No. 8 in all-time head coaching wins with 1,042 victories.
As far as the Timberwolves are concerned, some big names have been bandied about as possible replacements for Adelman. Among them include Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo and Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg. Izzo is tight with T’Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saudners and Hoiberg played in Minnesota and had a front office job with the team after his playing career was finished.
Others speculate that Saunders, who appears to still have the coaching itch, may wear two hats for the organization and return to the floor.
Whatever happens, it should be an interesting offseason, as finding a new head coach — if that’s the endgame with Adelman — isn’t the only issue the Wolves have to deal with this offseason. There’s the question of signing Ricky Rubio to a new deal, figuring out what to do about Kevin Love as the power forward can opt-out of his current deal following next season, among other roster issues.