We’ve known for a month this was coming — maybe longer, when your team wins 17 games the coach’s seat is going to be hot. But David Kahn and the Timberwolves dragged this out in an embarrassing fashion.
Now it is official, both the Associated Press and others such as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (who had it first) have confirmed the firing is official.
For the past month, the Timberwolves seemed to be trying to embarrass Rambis into quitting, like they were trying to get out of paying the remaining $4 million on his deal that way. Rambis, you and I have one thing common: We will put up with a lot of humiliation for $4 million. He would not quit when asked to do a written report on the team, while the team dragged out the process hurting his chances of getting another job next season, while they flirted with putting him at a desk in the front office.
All this made the Wolves look bad. All this means the top coaching candidates out there would think twice about stepping into that situation as coach.
Now he’s out. Portland assistant Bernie Bickerstaff will be brought in to interview (and his son J.B. is already a Wolves assistant coach). Milwaukee assistant Kelvin Sampson also is rumored to be in the running.
Two months after their season ended. In the middle of what should be the busiest two weeks a general manager has all season leading up to the NBA draft. Sure, now seems like a great time for the Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn and coach Kurt Rambis to finally sit down and have a face-to-face about last season and decide if it’s time to get a new coach.
But that is what is happening this week, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune in a tweet.
Kahn and Rambis finally meeting these next two days to discuss last season and future. Could an actual decision be forthcoming shortly?
Rambis’ job has been rumored to be in jeopardy (the team did have the worst record in the NBA last season), although reports are he’ll get to keep his job but must retool his staff. The question is why did this take so long? While other teams that needed a new coach went out and got their business taken care of Kahn and Rambis had not really spoken. Everyone has taken care of this basic stuff, save the Wolves. Rambis was frustrated. As he should be.
What Kahn has done in his two months off is nail down former first round pick Ricky Rubio, who Zgoda says will formally announce tomorrow he is coming to Minnesota for next season. There are holes in his game but Rubio is good, fast and 20 — he makes this team better.
Is Rambis the right coach for Rubio? It’s a valid question, but one the Wolves should have been asking and answering the week after the season ended, rather than wait to months and the days before the draft.
It wouldn’t be shocking to hear the Minnesota Timberwolves were one of the NBA teams losing money, even with a $54 million payroll that is 27th in the league.
But $20 million?
That’s what is suggested in Sid Hartman’s column in the Star Tribune (via Henry Abbott at TrueHoop). Hartman also says that Kurt Rambis and more may be on the hot seat. Again, this would not be a shock. We’re a little hesitant because there are no sources listed here so please read with grains of salt.
The Wolves could lose up to $20 million and are reported to have a big debt at one of the local banks. The (NHL’s Minnesota) Wild lost some money last year and will lose some more this year, but not as much as the Wolves.
Indications are that both coaches — Kurt Rambis of the Wolves and Todd Richards of the Wild — are in danger of losing their jobs.
Glen Taylor, owner of the Wolves, has refused to say that either President of Basketball Operations David Kahn or Rambis will be back next season, although each has one more year on his contract.
“We will talk about it after the season,” Taylor said other day, giving no indication about the future of either one.
Numbers can be manipulated, so while we can question the figure, but do not doubt the Wolves are in the red. Taylor is one of the NBA owners lead negotiators in the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement talks. He can look across the table and say he is losing money, and nobody is going to question him. Now, whether the profits that the Bulls and Lakers turn should be used to cover those losses and not a reduction of players’ salaries is another issue.