When Rick Adelman reached the milestone of 1,000 wins as an NBA coach recently, his wife, Mary Kay, was there by his side on the court as he spoke. He wanted her there, part of the celebration because she had sacrificed for it, too.
But she is also battling health issues — remember Adelman took time away from the Timberwolves this season to be with her.
And that same issue may cause him to retire and walk away from coaching after the season, reports Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, on Sulia.
Adelman told me March 21 that he will think about walking away unless doctors can diagnose and successfully treat a health issue with his wife. He does not want to start 2013-14 with that unresolved and face the possibility of another leave of absence.
But at least some who know him take it a step further and say retirement is not only a real option, it is likely. One person who has talked with Adelman said that unless the family gets some very good news about Mary Kay, it would be a big surprise if Rick returned.
For the sake of his wife’s health, I hope to see him back on the Minnesota sidelines next season.
If not, you know he will be professional and fair to the organization, giving them a lot of warning. But replacing him will be hard — Adelman is one of the NBA’s handful of elite coaches, a guy who makes a team instantly better when he takes over the helm. Minnesota is poised for a big jump next season (if they can stay healthy) but that leap would be more difficult without Adelman.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.