Rick Adelman

Coaching Rumors: Warriors, Wolves, Knicks

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

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.

No Chance Adelman Returns As Wolves Coach

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

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.

T-Wolves Notes: Adelman, Love, Rubio

Rick Adelman‘s contract with the Timberwolves includes a mutual option with the team in which either side can opt out of the deal; the agreement calls for a decision to be made no later than two weeks after the end of the regular season (noted by the Associated Press). The above piece sheds light on the biggest criticisms surrounding Adelman’s performance this year, and it specifically mentions his questionable rotation decisions with Kevin Love and the team’s young players. Team president Flip Saunders is expected to sit down and talk with the long-time NBA head coach to discuss their future.

Keeping that in mind, Andy Greder and Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press write that there is an understanding between Adelman and the team that he can return next season as a consultant. Greder and Walters have more interesting tidbits to pass along out of Minnesota, and you can find them below:

  • Despite the uncertainty of Love’s future, there is no intention of trading him.
  • On the premise that Ricky Rubio hasn’t performed at an all-star level this season, It seems more probable that the T-Wolves would choose to offer a four-year extension rather than a five-year max when the two can negotiate a rookie deal extension between July and October.
  • The team will look to add a two-way wing player this summer. While they could also look to make a trade in order to boost their defense, owner Glen Taylor says it probably wouldn’t be a “big” one.
  • As with Love, Taylor doesn’t seem open to dealing Pekovic or Rubio right now.
  • Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng are expected to be key contributors next season, and Dieng’s standout performances during the latter portion of this year gives the team some added flexibility as it continues to deal with Nikola Pekovic‘s lingering injury concerns.

And-Ones: Knicks, Wolves, Silver

Carmelo Anthony was very complimentary when discussing Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Anthony said, “Thibs [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau] is a great coach. His system kind of reminds me of [Spurs coach] Gregg Popovich’s system. You put anybody in that system and it’s going to work. And that’s what they’ve been doing. They had guys who have been sitting out all season long, guys [have] been in and out the lineup, and they seem to get it done.” The Bulls are one of the teams mentioned as a possible destination for Anthony if he leaves the Knicks this summer.

More from around the league:

  • The Knicks have missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. In a separate article, Begley looks at what this means for the franchise.
  • There are three major contract situations the Timberwolves will have to deal with this offseason, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. The team will have to decide what to do with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and coach Rick Adleman.
  • In a separate article, Zgoda looks at the state of the Wolves roster heading into next season.
  •  Adam Silver thinks the NBA playoffs could benefit from a fresh look, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. The call to make changes to the current format is in response to the superiority of the Western Conference.

Fred Hoiberg Unlikely To Coach Wolves

The Wolves reportedly plan a strong push to make top NBA coaching prospect Fred Hoiberg their next head coach, but he’s always been unlikely to join the team in that capacity, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. There are reportedly many close to the Wolves who feel as though Rick Adelman will step down after the season, and Wolfson believes it’s likely that happens early in the two-week window that both Adelman and the team have to exercise their mutual option for 2014/15 (Twitter link).

Hoiberg has won plaudits from NBA circles for his work at Iowa State, where he became coach nearly four years ago after serving as an executive for the Wolves, one of three NBA teams for which he played during his 10-year career. He and Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders have a close relationship, and owner Glen Taylor is an admirer, too. Saunders and Taylor feel the same way about Tom Izzo, but he seems a longshot to leave Michigan State.

The 41-year-old Hoiberg last year received a 10-year, $20MM deal to remain at Iowa State, though he’d only need to give the school $500K to buy his way out of the deal and take an NBA job. It sounds like it’ll take a long-term commitment from an NBA team to pry him from the Cyclones, but executives around the league are enamored with him.

Western Notes: Adelman, Barnes, Rockets

Wolves coach Rick Adelman spoke to reporters including Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune on Minnesota’s future, but didn’t include himself as part of the ongoing decision-making (Twitter link). “For the most part we’re still a pretty young team and the success of this franchise going forward is who else can they add,” said Adelman, who many believe will not be back to coach next year. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer and Zgoda tweeted back and forth, speculating that Adelman’s quote was a tacit admission that he wouldn’t be a part of the Wolves future (Twitter links). Here’s more from out West:

  • Bob Finnan of The News-Herald says there is growing sentiment that the Warriors will look to trade away Harrison Barnes this offseason.
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com says that the Rockets reached out to point guard Malcolm Delaney to see if bringing him in from overseas this late in the season was feasible. Stein first reported that the Rockets had interest in Delaney, but the news that Patrick Beverley should return for the playoffs has Houston brass leaning against a play for Delaney.
  • Stein says the Rockets believe in Sergio Llull as an NBA rotation piece, but that there are major barriers to bringing him in from overseas anytime soon, including Llull’s apparent disinterest in joining the NBA, where the Rockets own his rights.
  • Erik Murphy‘s former Bulls teammates are very happy he was claimed by the Jazz, per a tweet from K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune“He works too hard,” said Taj Gibson, who had positive things to say about Murphy at the time of his release as well.
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey shared what he saw in Murphy to Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). “Big guys who can step out and shoot can be complementary to our group. And Erik is a super shooter,” said Lindsey.

Western Notes: Lakers, Saunders, Henry

The Lakers know their fans and Kobe Bryant aren’t sold on Mike D’Antoni, but with the team’s free agency focus on 2015, they’re hesitant to bring on a new coach who might not mesh with the players they target then, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding writes. They’re also not sure that D’Antoni has performed poorly enough to warrant his dismissal, Ding adds, suggesting assistant Kurt Rambis as a possible replacement if D’Antoni is ousted.

More from out west:

  • Xavier Henry will indeed miss the rest of the season, as Mike Trudell of Lakers.com confirms.
  • Wolves owner Glen Taylor said on WCCO-AM that he doesn’t want president of basketball operations Flip Saunders to coach the team if Rick Adelman doesn’t return next season, notes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). Saunders was reticent to address the issue in an appearance with Dan Berreiro on KFAN-FM today, but he said that he enjoys his front office work, according to Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter).
  • Wolves forward Dante Cunningham was arrested on Thursday and was today formally charged with domestic assault. This will certainly have a negative impact on the pending free-agent’s options, writes Zach Harper of CBSSports.com. Cunningham is averaging 6.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 19.5 minutes this season. He’s in the final year of his contract, which pays him $2.1 MM. He was jailed and not with the team as it traveled to Florida for a two-game road trip.His attorney’s office said it’s possible that he posts bail of $40,000 this weekend.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Wolves Rumors: Love, Adelman, Hoiberg, Rubio

There’s more uncertainty surrounding the Timberwolves than with any other team in the league, Grantland’s Zach Lowe concludes. The future of Kevin Love is at the center of it, and Lowe and Marc Stein of ESPN.com examine that and other issues on which the franchise could pivot in the months ahead. We’ll highlight their pieces here:

  • The Wolves have already let some teams know that they’re uninterested in trading Love, who’s set for free agency in 2015, and Minnesota has indirectly given that signal to other teams, too, Lowe writes. Owner Glen Taylor is intent on convincing Love to stay and the Wolves are optimistic about their chances of keeping him, Stein reports, adding that Taylor is determined not to trade Love unless the time comes when he feels he must.
  • There are many close to the Wolves who are convinced Rick Adelman will retire after the season, Stein writes. The Wolves and Adelman each have two weeks to decide whether to exercise the mutual option on his contract, notes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune suggests via Twitter that even if Adelman doesn’t opt out, the Wolves will.
  • There have been no signals that president of basketball operations Flip Saunders wants to take over on the bench, but Stein hears the Wolves will make a strong pursuit of Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg if Adelman isn’t coming back.
  • Ricky Rubio will be up for a rookie scale extension in the offseason, and the sense around the league is that agent Dan Fegan will ask for eight-figure salaries, according to Lowe. The point guard is undeserving of that much money, Lowe argues, noting that teams nonetheless have widely varying opinions of Rubio’s worth.