Rick Adelman has interviewed twice to be the head coach in Minnesota, met the owner, he has a good relationship with the star player, likes to have his team run and just generally is the perfect fit on paper for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Yet, no deal so far.
Why not? It’s about the money. It’s always about the money. In this case, Adelman ask is for a massive contract from the small market Timberwolves. That according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune.
Rick Adelman still looks like the favorite, but here’s the tricky part: I hear he wants at least $5 million a year, and five years — not four — guaranteed. Do the math and that’s at least $25 million, sports fans.
Weeks ago I was told (Timberwolves owner) Glen Taylor paid Flip Saunders big money — $5 million a year in his final years – and is willing to do so again with a young group he thinks the franchise can grow with. But…$25 million or more?
The report also says that if it’s not Adelman it will be Don Nelson. (If it is someone else, like Sam Mitchell, it wasn’t GM David Kahn’s call, and that is another story entirely).
If that really is the choice — Nelson or Adelman — then Adelman is worth the $25 million. Nelson is a better coach than his reputation allows, but he was terrible with young players in Golden State. He’s not the guy to trust with a young team right now, especially in comparison to Adelman.
As always with coaching search, expect the Wolves to take their time making a decision.
We have a piece of the puzzle, but it is without enough other pieces to let us see the entire picture. Yet.
We’ve told you a lot of things leading up to yesterday’s events: That Rick Adelman flew out to Minnesota Tuesday to meet with Timberwolves GM David Kahn and other top brass; that he seems to be the Timberwolves choice, the guy they wanted; and that there were questions if he really wanted the job.
Now comes this tweet from Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune on twitter.
Adelman already apparently has flown out of town after today’s interview with #Timberwolves, without an offer (yet) being made
What does that mean? Impossible to say right now.
It could mean that after meeting Adelman didn’t want the job, although the fact he flew out to Minnesota shows some level of interest. It could mean Minnesota decided it didn’t want him, although he seems the best fit for them on paper. It could mean the Timberwolves didn’t want to match the at least $4 million a year Adelman will require to take a new job (and it may well be closer to $5 million a year).
What it most likely means is that after talking both sides wanted some time to reassess. An offer for the Timberwolves head coaching job very well may be coming soon.
But with the way this whole Timberwolves coaching situation has played out, you didn’t really expect a quick, clean ending, did you?
Last we heard from Rick Adelman, he didn’t sound like a guy that eager to coach next season. (If there is a next season. Man I’m sick of writing that phrase.)
But that seems to be changing. Maybe it’s time away from the game. Maybe it’s the Ricky Rubio effect. Maybe he’s willing to do anything to get Kevin Love off the volleyball court.
Whatever the reason, Adelman will meet in person with the decision makers of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves are still going to have to sell him on taking the job, but at least he’s willing to listen now.
Adelman is the front-runner for this gig as far as Minny is concerned. For one, if owner Glen Taylor is trying to see if the issue has been the coaches or general manager David Kahn, this will answer the question — Adelman can coach. He’s been in the league 20 years, been to the playoffs 16 years and had some contending teams in Portland and Sacramento. He will not be the problem.
Also, Adelman comes in with an established, strong relationship with Kevin Love. Finally, his former teams in Sacramento and elsewhere did run, one of Kahn’s requirements for his new coach.
Minnesota has taken its time with its coaching search, starting with letting Kurt Rambis twist in the wind for a couple months before firing him. Then they have interviewed seven coaches, including Don Nelson and Mike Woodson for the gig.
Adelman would be a good hire for Minnesota. The fact he is coming to interview shows he is interested, too. The question may be money — Adelman should make upwards of $4 million a year. Maybe a million or two upwards. Will the Timberwolves pay that?
It’s all about the Benjamins.
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.
Over at the Star Tribune, beat writer Jerry Zgoda suggests who gets the job may come down to how much the Bucks are willing to pay.
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.
At this point, if I hear Minnesota general manager David Kahn wants to interview Adolph Rupp, I will not be surprised.
Because now added to the long list of people being interviewed is Larry Brown, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
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