Maybe you’d forgotten that the Minnesota Timberwolves still don’t have a coach. And why rush, really? The season’s not due to start for two more months, and even then, the lockout will probably hold it off until much later, possibly months. So getting on the ball about a coach isn’t really an urgent matter. But the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Saturday that the Wolves may have narrowed down their options to a shortlist.
After interviewing six candidates in person, the team is working once again on trying to get former Houston coach Rick Adelman to come to town early next week to meet with David Kahn, Glen Taylor, Rob Moor, minority partners and other personnel.
If he declines, the Wolves then will move ahead with the process and probably choose either Nelson or Mitchell for the job.
The Trib also reports that Adelman’s a longshot according to league sources. Adelman has previously shown interest in taking over more of a personnel gig, so taking on a strictly coaching job with a general manager already in place seems kind of unlikely. At the same time, hiring Adelman would present a big step forward for the franchise. Targeting him is a great move for the organization.
If Adelman falls through, the choices are “decent’ and “call your friends who are Wolves fans and tell them to get away from sharp objects.” Sam Mitchell won Coach of the Year, and has a history in Minnesota. He’s a decent pick. Don Nelson would be an unmitigated disaster based on the young personnel they have, their need for improvement on both sides of the ball, and Nelson’s reputation for a lack of discipline.
But at least Wolves fans will know the direction of the team’s future soon.
With Chris Mullin going into the Hall of Fame, the golden era of the Golden State Warriors has been a hot topic. For me, that will always be Run TMC. One of my favorite teams ever to watch.
Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, in a “system” designed by Don Nelson. A system that often was no system — let really good players do their thing and stay out of the way. They were as entertaining a basketball team as has ever played. Not the best, but the most fun to watch.
NBA TV is doing a special on them and released this snippet of the interview (via SLAM). This should whet your appetite for the program (coming in October).
Minnesota may get around to choosing a coach this week
When Pistons GM Joe Dumars was asked why he moved quickly to bring in new head coach Lawrence Frank in the middle of the lockout, he said that if you want to change the energy of your organization you should not wait.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have gone the other direction. GM David Kahn let former coach Kurt Rambis twist in the wind for a couple months, then when the Wolves finally got around to a coaching search it has been deliberate and methodical. Which is to say slow like a three-toed sloth.
Who? That’s up in the air, the slow process have provided few clues. Zgoda surmises that Bernie Bickerstaff, Don Nelson and Sam Mitchel are the favorites to get the job (owner Glen Taylor may back Mitchel, and owners often get their way). It should be noted those are are three guys who have coached in the NBA before; Minnesota is not going with an untested coach again.
If those three are in it would leave Rick Adelman (who only did a phone interview for the job and doesn’t seem interested), Larry Brown, Mike Woodson and Terry Porter on the outside.
There has not been a formal second round of interviews. And there may not be. The Wolves are doing things their way. We’ll see how that works out for them.
Breaking down the Wolves coaching search by dollars
With the Minnesota Timberwolves interviewing a roughly everyone west of the Misissippi River for their open coaching position — Don Nelson, Larry Brown, Rick Adelman, Terry Porter, Bernie Bickerstaff, Mike Woodson — it is hard to get exactly what they are looking for. Sure, GM David Kahn said he wanted someone with “uptempo DNA” but not everyone on that list fits that criteria.
If they’re willing to pay $4-5 million a year, the pick clearly seems to be former Houston coach Rick Adelman, a candidate who meets all of Kahn’s criteria for style of play, winning track record and the unspoken but important Kevin Love Factor.
If their ceiling is $3 million — plus bonuses — it’s Don Nelson. Working down from there, in the $2 million range and in descending order, your picks are Mike Woodson, Bernie Bickerstaff (and Son) and then Terry Porter.
The Wolves just had to pay (or are paying) the remaining two years and $4 million owed Kurt Rambis, which may impact their decision. As Zgoda noted, Adelman interviewed for this job over the phone, not flying out to Minnesota, which is not exactly a sign everyone is serious about that happening.
I’d tell you who I think the frontrunner is if I had any clue, but I’m not about to try and guess what Kahn’s next move will be, save that a couple more first-round interviews are expected.
Timberwolves to interview Larry Brown. Yes, we’re serious.
After interviewing Adelman and Nellie this weekend, #Timberwolves intend to interview Larry Brown and probably 1 or 2 others
Brown was the coach at UCLA when Kahn was a reporter for the school paper covering the Bruins, so they go way back in an odd sort of way. Brown is a Hall of Fame coach (already inducted), an NBA Champion with 27 years as an NBA head man, not to mention four in the ABA and some time in college (where he won a national championship thanks to Danny Manning). He has a career with 1,098 NBA wins and a .548 winning percentage. The guy can coach. He can coach defense, he can be a disciplinarian, both things the Wolves need.
But at age 71, is he the guy to mold a young team that won 17 games last season. He’s going to relate to Ricky Rubio and Michael Beasley? This is a guy who notoriously sat rookies. This is a guy who covets players on other teams and pushes for roster turnover (and Kahn said this roster was basically set for the future). This is your coach for the future of this roster?
Between Don Nelson (interviewed over the weekend) and Brown, it seems the Wolves are leaving no stone unturned in their coaching search (also interviewed: Terry Porter, Mike Woodson, Rick Adelman and Bernie Bickerstaff). With the lockout, there is no real pressure on Minnesota to expedite the process. But there may be some stones not really worth turning over