Rick Adelman

Adelman excited about the “challenge” of coaching Minnesota, will have personnel input

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It baffled a lot of folks when Rick Adleman, generally considered one of the better coaches in NBA history, took a head coaching job with the Timberwolves, who have been a fixer-upper franchise since Kevin Garnett’s prime.

Sports Illustrated Sam Amick, who covered Adelman’s team when Adleman coached the Sacramento Kings, recently had an interview with the coach, which is extremely thorough and enlightening even though Adelman isn’t allowed to talk about any of the Timberwolves’ current players. (Lockout!)

Adelman explained why he decided to take over the team with the league’s worst record last year at this point in his coaching career:

SI.com: So a player swore to me there was no way you’d take this job. Why was he wrong?

I just looked at their roster, and I know they’ve lost a lot of games, but they’ve got a very young team that has some talent and I just felt like maybe this is a situation where you add a couple pieces or whatever and you can turn it around in the other direction pretty quickly.

I also thought about the fact that you take some jobs that you think are very good and you end up — because of the expectations and things — that they aren’t what you thought, they just blow up in your face, too. They can be just as tough of a job. That happened to me in Houston, where we lost the two guys, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, and the whole situation changed. I just looked at it and thought, “Maybe it’s a chance for me to take on a challenge like this, and where I am in my career and everything and see if I can’t turn it around.”

Adelman also denied that he has ever had a bad relationship with current Minnesota GM David Kahn, who has been widely maligned for his personnel moves and drafting with the Timberwolves. However, Adelman did say that he will have input in future personnel moves, and admitted that that was an “important” point in negotiations for him. For the rest of the interview, which talks about Adelman’s departure from Houston, his rough years in Golden State, and his former and future assistant coaches, click through and read the full interview.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.