Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors

Latest On Wolves Coaching Candidates

April 23 at 12:41pm CDT By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 12:41pm: Saunders reiterated his “never say never” approach to the idea of coaching the team, but said he doesn’t envision that scenario playing out as he spoke on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” this morning (transcription via Marc Stein of ESPN.com). He did say his experience as a coach will allow the team to take its time with the search, since he’ll be able to oversee offseason training and development schedules for the players while the position remains open.

MONDAY, 2:58pm: Saunders poured cold water on the idea of Hoiberg’s candidacy for the job, telling Chad Hartman of WCCO-AM that, “He’s [Fred] not at a point where he’s ready to move to the NBA. That’s not happening,” as Wolfson notes via Twitter. Saunders also wouldn’t hire Frank Vogel were the Pacers coach to become available, Wolfson tweets.

1:21pm: Stein suggests that Donovan, Hoiberg and Izzo would all listen to entreaties from the Wolves, but the ESPN.com scribe acknowledges that it would be an uphill battle to convince any of them to take the job. There are mixed signals on whether Saunders wants to coach, and whether Taylor would allow him to, according to Stein, altering the narrative from previous reports about the idea. Stein also points to the lengthy search that Saunders is planning as reason that Van Gundy and brother Jeff Van Gundy may emerge as serious candidates.

1:03pm: A source close to Donovan tells Wolfson that while the Florida coach would consider the NBA, he doubts he’d go to Minnesota (Twitter link).

11:14am: University of Florida coach Billy Donovan is drawing interest from the Wolves as they search for a new head coach, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, while Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports adds former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins to the list of candidates. Sam Amick of USA Today suggests George Karl is also a candidate, though last season’s NBA Coach of the Year reportedly wouldn’t have interest.

President of basketball operations Flip Saunders suggested today that the team will conduct an extensive search that might not be complete in time for the June 26th draft, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). He mentioned experience and clout as criteria he’s looking for in a new sideline boss, observes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Saunders said “never say never” about the notion that he’d become the next coach of the team, or that the Wolves might trade for a coach, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Saunders reportedly would like to coach the team, but owner Glen Taylor doesn’t want anyone to have the top front office and coaching responsibilities at the same time. Fred Hoiberg, Tom Izzo and Stan Van Gundy have also drawn mention as potential Wolves targets, though all three appear to be longshots. Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio identified Suns assistant coach Jerry Sichting as a “name to really watch” in regard to the Wolves opening.

Donovan accepted the Magic’s head coaching job in 2007, but quickly backed out. He said in late 2012 that he wouldn’t rule out an eventual jump to the NBA. Hollins appeared to be a candidate for the Pistons coaching job after they fired Maurice Cheeks at midseason, and he had interest in that job. The team still hasn’t named a permanent head coach, with interim coach John Loyer having served as the team’s bench boss for the remainder of the season. It’s unclear if Hollins remains a candidate in Detroit.

Coaching Rumors: Warriors, Wolves, Knicks

April 21 at 2:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The week began with the creation of a pair of coaching vacancies, as the Knicks fired Mike Woodson an hour before Rick Adelman announced his retirement from the Wolves. There will probably be other jobs opening up, but Jermaine O’Neal gets the sense that Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob isn’t down on Mark Jackson, as the veteran center tells USA Today’s Sam Amick.

“When I speak to Joe, he likes what we have,” O’Neal said. “But hey, it’s a different era right now. We have a new breed of owners in our league and their patience is a lot shorter. So I don’t know ultimately what his plan is — that’s up to him. He pays the bills. He can do whatever he wants to do with his team. But from the conversations I’ve had with him, he likes Mark.”

Here’s more on the Warriors and other coaching news from around the league:

  • Andre Iguodala has Jackson’s fate on his mind as the Warriors go through the playoffs, observes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group“We’re trying to save our coach,” Iguodala said. “Every game is pressure for us.”  
  • Fellow Bay Area News Group scribe Tim Kawakami suggests that Steve Kerr and Fred Hoiberg would top the Warriors‘ list of targets if the team parts ways Jackson (Twitter link). Jackson would “almost surely” want an extension that includes a pay raise if the team decides to keep him, Kawakami writes.
  • Adelman said he made his decision to retire in part because he didn’t think it would help the Wolves to have both him and Kevin Love on expiring contracts next season, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes. Adelman also said he probably would have retired regardless of his wife’s health, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter links).
  • Flip Saunders hinted that the Wolves will prioritize coaching candidates who’d continue to run an offense similar to Adelman’s, Zgoda tweets.
  • The Knicks will encourage whomever they hire to replace Woodson to re-hire longtime assistant coach Herb Williams, who was let go along with the rest of the team’s coaching staff today, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. However, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News casts doubt on the report, suggesting that the idea that team wants Williams back comes from neither Phil Jackson nor Williams (Twitter link).

Rick Adelman Announces Retirement

April 21 at 10:05am CDT By Chuck Myron

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).

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Charlotte BobcatsTom 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.

Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune was the first to report the news, via Twitter. Sam Amick of USA Today confirmed the report (Twitter link). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Rumors: Hayward, Rubio, Saunders

April 18 at 11:29am CDT By Chuck Myron

Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey isn’t promising that restricted free agent Gordon Hayward will be back with the team, but Lindsey said Thursday that he wants to have Hayward remain in Utah for the rest of his career, observes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Hayward’s teammates are confident he’ll stay with the Jazz, though Hayward didn’t offer much in the way of hints.

“Utah has been great for me,” Hayward said. “But it’s a business.”

Hayward and the Jazz have nonetheless indicated plenty of mutual interest, as I detailed when I examined the small forward’s free agent stock. Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune expects Ricky Rubio and agent Dan Fegan to ask for an extension that’s closer to the maximum, with an average annual value probably in the neighborhood of $15.5MM, than to Stephen Curry‘s four-year, $44MM deal.
  • The sale of the Bucks will likely be a boon to Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders, as Zgoda writes in the same piece. Saunders’ share of the Wolves will be 6% by the end of his five-year contract, and if the $550MM price of the Bucks dictates the value of the Minnesota franchise, Saunders’ stake will be worth about $33MM.
  • The NBA has approved the sale of a minority stake in the Thunder to Tulsa energy company executive George B. Kaiser, the team announced in a press release. It’s the portion of the team that fellow energy executive Tom L. Ward had owned. Kaiser’s net worth is $10.1 billion, according to Forbes.com. Minority owner G. Jeffrey Records also transferred some, but not all, of his share to others within the ownership group.

Western Notes: Lakers, Faried, Corbin, Wolves

April 17 at 9:43pm CDT By Alex Lee

It is certainly no surprise that, after we rounded up the Lakers’ exit interviews earlier tonight, there is already more buzz coming out of Los Angeles. This is the Lakers, after all. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Pau Gasol would consider reuniting with former coach Phil Jackson, now running things with the Knicks. Citing a source, Spears hears that the interest is mutual.

Meanwhile, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report mentions both Van Gundys, Stan and Jeff, as names that stand out to him should the Lakers part ways with Mike D’Antoni. Within the same story, Ding breaks down the team’s draft lottery odds as well as maps out the complicated status of their draft picks beyond this season. Here is what else is going on in the Western Conference:

  • Earlier this month it was Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly that had some kind words to say about Kenneth Faried. On Thursday, it was Brian Shaw’s turn. As Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post writes, the head coach wants and expects to have Faried in a Nuggets uniform next season. Faried was frequently mentioned in trade rumors this season.
  • The fate of Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin will hang in the balance just a little longer, according to Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune, who writes that the team will take a “decompression period” before making a decision on whether or not to bring the coach back. Luhm reports that a decision could come down as soon as this weekend.
  • With Rick Adelman’s departure imminent, the Wolves head coaching wish list includes Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Stan Van Gundy, reports Spears in his final power rankings column.
  • It’s a small silver lining in an otherwise ugly season in Minnesota, but ESPN’s Marc Stein tweets that the Wolves can take solace in the fact that they refused to deal rookie Gorgui Dieng at the trade deadline before they knew what they had (Twitter links). The Louisville product was a bright spot in Minnesota down the stretch and figures to be a key contributor in his second season.

Wolves Rumors: Love, Saunders, Coaching

April 17 at 12:45pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The end of Rick Adelman‘s tenure as Wolves coach appears imminent, as we passed along earlier today from Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. Even once that situation is clarified, there will be plenty of others for the team to resolve. Here’s more from Hartman and others on what lies ahead for Minnesota:

  • Wolves owner Glen Taylor tells Hartman that the team isn’t “pushing” for an extension with Kevin Love and says he doesn’t think Love would be interested in signing one. Still, that’s probably not a reflection of a lack of interest from either side in a long-term deal at some point, since Love isn’t eligible to sign an extension until next January, and even then, it would only tack two additional years onto his deal.
  • Love told reporters after Wednesday’s game that he continues to have faith in the future of the Wolves, notes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press“Sure. Of course,” Love said.
  • The Wolves will surely consult with Love about their next coach, but they won’t give him the power to make the choice for them, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
  • Wolfson wouldn’t rule out a scenario in which Flip Saunders takes over as Wolves coach and grooms an up-and-coming assistant to replace him (Twitter link).

No Chance Adelman Returns As Wolves Coach

April 17 at 8:28am CDT By Chuck Myron

There is no chance that Rick Adelman will be back as coach of the Timberwolves next season, one of the team’s decision-makers tells Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. It’s certainly not a surprise, given that many around the Wolves have believed that the 67-year-old would retire after the season. Fellow Star Tribune scribe Jerry Zgoda said last month that if Adelman didn’t leave, the Wolves would turn down their mutual option to retain him. Still, it seemed at the time that there was at least a remote chance the longtime coach would be back with the team.

Adelman is set to meet today with owner Glen Taylor and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders, with a final decision on the coach’s future to come as soon as this week. Both the team and Adelman have two weeks to exercise the mutual option. The Wolves have reportedly discussed him staying on with the club as a consultant, though it’s unclear if that will happen. Adelman’s wife has suffered from seizures over the past few years, and her health weighed on his mind before he decided to coach this season.

The Wolves haven’t made the playoffs in three seasons under Adelman, even though they made a nine-game improvement this year. He’s otherwise been a successful NBA coach, compiling a 1,042-749 record and winning raves for his offensive innovations.

The Wolves had apparently envisioned a strong pursuit of Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, but he’s unlikely to join the Wolves, and while Taylor and Saunders like Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, too, he’s also a longshot, Hartman writes. Taylor doesn’t want Saunders to coach because he’d prefer his top basketball executive and his coach not to be the same person, Hartman writes. Saunders reportedly would like to return to the bench, and Hartman thinks Saunders can convince his boss to let him do so.

Northwest Rumors: Adelman, Corbin, Karl, Stotts

April 16 at 10:43pm CDT By Charlie Adams

In wake of the speculation that Rick Adelman will step away from coaching next season, Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press looks at how the longtime coach’s legacy and examines the influence he’s had on the likes of Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, and Tom Thibodeau. Here is tonight’s rundown on the rumors out of the Northwest Division:

  • Adelman will meet with Wolves president Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor within the next 24 hours and make a decision about next season “fast,” tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. Greder adds that the decision might surface as soon as this week (Twitter link).
  • Former Nuggets coach George Karl wouldn’t be interested in taking on a coaching role for a rebuilding team like the Wolves, reveals Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
  • Jazz players, including Trey Burke and Derrick Favors, have advocated for Tyrone Corbin‘s return next year, but Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune doesn’t think it’s a certainty that the first-year coach will remain in Utah beyond this season. The Jazz concluded their season with a double overtime victory over Minnesota tonight.
  • John Canzano of the Oregonian thinks the Blazers would be wise to lock up Terry Stotts to a long-term extension in Portland. Waiting too long to show that the team has faith in Stotts might have a negative impact on the franchise, Canzano argues.

And-Ones: Collins, Dumars, Farmar, Thomas

April 14 at 9:26pm CDT By Zach Links

Sources identified a long list of potential NBA GM candidates to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.  Doug Collins, Mavs director of player personnel Tony Ronzone, Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan, Bucks assistant GM David Morway, Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks, Knicks director of pro personnel Mark Hughes, Wizards director of player personnel Frank Ross, Pacers director of scouting Ryan Carr, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, Magic assistant GM Matt Lloyd, Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik, and Rockets executive VP of basketball ops Gersson Rosas all earned mentions.  Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..

  • The Kings have recalled Willie Reed from the Reno Bighorns, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (on Twitter).   The Bighorns were eliminated from the D-League playoffs on Sunday.
  • Some people familiar with Pistons exec Joe Dumars expect him to take some time off before pursuing another top executive role, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Jordan Farmar reiterated his interest in re-signing with the Lakers following the club’s 102-90 loss yesterday to the Grizzlies, writes Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.  ”Of course, I’d be a Laker,” Farmar said. “And if I was [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak], I would sign me.”  The guard averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 assists despite playing in only 39 games this season due to injury.
  • The Bulls tried to lure Kurt Thomas to Chicago, but Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears that the big man considers himself retired.
  • The T’Wolves never had interest in putting in a waiver claim for Greg Smith, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.  Smith landed with the Bulls earlier today.
  • Who will be the biggest name traded this offseason?  The Basketball Insiders staff held a mini-debate and the names of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Rajon Rondo all came up in conversation.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Rumors: Love, Gasol, Cousins

April 13 at 10:49pm CDT By Cray Allred

DeMarcus Cousins received his 16th technical of the season during tonight’s Kings/Wolves game. If the technical isn’t rescinded by the league, he will incur an automatic one-game suspension and have his season ended prematurely. Here’s more from out west:

  • A group of writers at Basketball Insiders looks at which marquee players could be traded this summer, including Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Mitch Kupchak told Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News that the Lakers are interested in re-signing Pau Gasol this summer. “There’s great interest in re-signing Pau back,” the Lakers GM said. “I don’t know why there would not be interest. He’s a Hall of Famer. But by virtue of being a free agent, he’s in the market place. By being in the market place, we have to see how things play out.”
  • For his part, Gasol told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com he’s excited about meeting with multiple teams when he becomes a free agent, including the Lakers (Twitter link).