Tag: Rambis fired

Kurt Rambis

Minnesota finally, officially fires Kurt Rambis


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.

Timberwolves Kahn, Rambis finally have meetings

Kurt Rambis

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.

Are the Timberwolves losing $20 million this season?

Miami Heat v Minnesota Timberwolves

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.

Timberwolves push back — say Rambis is safe and Rubio is coming


We’ve passed along two recent reports about the Minnesota Timberwolves, neither of them particularly good for the franchise: One that coach Kurt Rambis may be let go at the end of the season, the other that Ricky Rubio seems to be leaning toward staying in Europe another season.

Wolves management is pushing back on those ideas.

Maybe the best was wrap up of that is from David Aldridge with NBA.com.

A team source insisted this weekend that it would take a major collapse down the stretch for management to even consider replacing Rambis, who got a four-year contract with the Wolves for that very reason — to take a lot of losses while developing the team’s young talent, including still-in-Europe Ricky Rubio. (The Wolves can buy out Rubio’s contract in Spain next season for $500,000, with Rubio paying the remainder, and Minnesota still expects Rubio will come over next year, regardless of whether there’s a lockout.) The Wolves have already won more games this season than last, with a month left in the season. Love, who clashed with Rambis last season, has seen that playing on a really bad team won’t keep him from individual accolades like making the U.S. World Championship team last year and the All-Star team this year — and as such, the source claims, Love isn’t going anywhere when and if he becomes a free agent.

Three thoughts. First, Rambis really should not be in trouble. He was not given the talent to win, he has done about what should be expected with teams he has. That said, it still feels like they are not really building a triangle team there (and that’s what Rambis was hired to run), especially when they get Rubio in the fold, so the question of style of play is out there. Rambis has certainly tweaked the offense and used it differently in some ways than Phil Jackson does, but more adjustments may be needed. Many more.

Second, discussing what Love may do before we see the new CBA is kind of moot. But, in the current system, most max players sign that first max deal with the hometown team (which was larger than what other teams could sign them too). Movement of guys tends to happen after that second deal, more like seven years in.

Finally, Rubio has to make a decision in May or June on his plans for next year. The new NBA CBA will not be in place by then. Maybe he decides to sign a deal under this CBA and risk a lockout. But his interview in Spain, and logic, suggests he may stay in Europe another season and let the NBA labor situation play its way out, then come over.

Report: Kurt Rambis done in Minnesota after season, team denies


UPDATE March 14, 9:53 am: As should be expected and is basically standard operating procedure in these cases, Minnesota officials denied everything about the report, according to the Pioneer Press. GM David Kahn particularly smacked down the idea that Kelvin Sampson was a planned replacement.

Kurt Rambis was much more direct.

“I don’t comment on things I haven’t read, and I never comment on things that cowards say,” Rambis said before heading to the team’s charter flight to Oakland. “If somebody wants to say something and attach their name to it, that’s another matter. Rumors are out there all the time. Anybody can start a rumor, but if they don’t attach their name to it, they’re a coward.”

March 12, 1:01 pm: Minnesota already has 50 losses this season and will likely finish with 60 or more when all is said and done. Which is a little better than the 67 lost last season but let’s not pretend we’re in the ballpark of reasonable.

It means that coach Kurt Rambis will likely be let go at the end of the season, according to Ken Berger at CBSSports.com. The decision will come at the end of the season but some within the organization are pushing hard for a change.

With a young roster clearly lacking in veteran leadership, some members of the Minnesota brain trust believe the team needs a more vocal, energetic coach on the sideline. Rambis is cut from the Phil Jackson cloth of letting his players police themselves, and also has been at odds with (Kevin) Love for long stretches. A coaching change is something Love would not oppose, sources say.

From almost day one there has seemed to be no cohesion between management’s vision and Rambis’ vision. They hire him to run the triangle offense in Minnesota, then use their two lottery draft picks that summer to bring in two ball-dominating point guards — the one thing the triangle offense does not require. Minnesota was in a place where they needed to gamble on young talent to fill out a roster, regardless of position, but again that is a bad fit for how you want to build a triangle-based team.

Rambis was slow to recognize what he had in Love — benching him for stretches at the start of this season even though he was their best player — and he seemed unable to get guys to really buy into the system fully.

Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson is the frontrunner to get the job next season, Berger says. He may be a better fit, but unless he gets more talent to expect many more wins would be a mistake. The talent question hinges on Ricky Rubio, the Spanish point guard. Minnesota staff are insistent he will play in the NBA next season, but the threat of a lockout makes it seem more likely he would spend one more season in Europe before coming over (he has to announce his intentions on his Euro deal this spring, long before a deal will be struck between the owners and players).

Rambis’ name may come up when Phil Jackson walks away from the Lakers at the end of this season. Lakers assistant Brian Shaw remains the front-runner for that job, however.