Rick Adelman announced his retirement from coaching at a press conference today, the Timberwolves confirm (Twitter link). A parting of ways has been widely expected, and fellow Star Tribune scribe Sid Hartman wrote last week that there was “no chance” that Adelman would return. That followed a pair of reports last month that cast serious doubt on the coach’s future. The team and Adelman had a mutual option for 2014/15, and either side had the ability to walk away from the contract. He’ll remain with the team as a consultant, the team also says (on Twitter).
Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Stan Van Gundy are the team’s targets to coach next season, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported last week, though all three seem difficult targets. Hoiberg appeared unlikely to accept an offer from the team even before Iowa State gave him a raise, and report from February indicated Van Gundy probably won’t coach anywhere next season. Izzo vehemently denied rumors that he’d coach the Pistons. A more attainable replacement for Adelman could be Suns assistant coach Jerry Sichting, whom Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio identifies as a “name to really watch” in connection to the Wolves job (Twitter link). Wolves President of basketball operations Flip Saunders reportedly would like to take over as coach, but owner Glen Taylor prefers that two different people handle the top front office job and the head coaching gig.
Adelman, 67, is stepping away with the eighth-most wins in NBA history, having compiled a 1,042-749 record in 23 seasons. He arrived in Minnesota for the 2011/12 season after a three-year stint with the Rockets, but he failed to lift the Wolves into the playoffs during his tenure. He enjoyed much greater success elsewhere, leading the Trail Blazers to two Finals appearances in his first four seasons as an NBA coach and nearly guiding the Kings to the Finals in 2002, when they lost a seven-game heartbreaker in the conference finals.
Those Kings teams cemented Adelman’s reputation as an offensive wizard, but Zgoda suggested last month that if he hadn’t retired from the Wolves, the team would have declined to pick up his option for next season. In any case, the health of Adelman’s wife likely weighed heavily in his decision. He missed 11 games to tend to her during the 2012/13 season, when she was suffering from seizures, and Adelman missed time to deal with unspecified personal issues this season.