There is no chance — zero — of Rick Adelman returning as Timberwolves head coach next season, according to one of the team’s decision-makers. Look for an announcement to that effect soon.
Two college coaches mentioned as candidates to replace Adelman, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, aren’t likely to take the job because of their popularity and security at their respective schools. The Wolves could be a playoff contender next season with the personnel additions they made this year, but Izzo or Hoiberg probably won’t move unless offered a fantastic contract with big money.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor talked recently about Adelman and the coaching situation. Adelman’s wife, Mary Kay, has been dealing with seizures during his three years with the Wolves.
“I think that a lot of it has to do with [Adelman’s] family and what he thinks is best for his family,” Taylor said. “I know he loves coaching, so that’s not the issue. I just think he has to determine what’s in the best interest for his family right now.”
Adelman has a contract that allows him to opt out of the fourth year of his contract in the next two weeks instead of coaching next season for $6 million; Taylor and the Wolves have a similar option.
I still think Flip Saunders, Wolves president of basketball operations, wants to coach. Even though Taylor says he prefers to have the team president and coach be two different people, I think Saunders could talk Taylor into letting him coach.
The outlook following this season is certainly a lot brighter than it was last year with David Kahn, who passed up chances to draft Warriors guard Stephen Curry in 2009 and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in 2010. The roster is better than it was a year ago.
Taylor didn’t know the future of center Nikola Pekovic, who was a free agent they signed to a five-year, $60 million contract. Point guard Ricky Rubio was still favoring his knee after reconstructive left knee surgery and not playing like he is now. The team hadn’t signed free agents Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer and Chase Budinger — who are all signed for next season — and they didn’t have promising rookies Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad.
Going into next season, the roster is in great shape with 12 players returning and no regulars unsigned.
Taylor also was asked to update Kevin Love’s contract situation, something Wolves fans will be tracking with interest going into next season, after which Love can opt out and become a free agent.
Will the Wolves offer Love a new deal this offseason?
“We have to wait,” Taylor said. “We could do an extension for two years, but I don’t think it’s something they would be interested in right now and we’re not pushing it, either. We’ll wait until next year, most likely.”
Taylor also thought the team’s play this year was improved, and that could help in keeping Love, especially if the Wolves take another jump up next year.
“We’ve come a long ways from the wins we had last year and right now we’re in a position to win 50 percent this year,” Taylor said before Wednesday’s game. “We’ve made a huge step, but we have to make much more next year.”
Saunders sees hope
The Wolves finished the 2012-13 season at 31-51, with a number of questions facing the team’s immediate future. There’s no question that this year’s squad — at 40-42 following a 136-130 defeat against Utah in two overtimes on Wednesday in the season finale — is in a much better place.
While Saunders wasn’t pleased with the Wolves missing the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season, the team’s stated goal at the start of the year, he did say there are positives.
“I feel we made some improvement, but like everyone, I’m disappointed we didn’t make the playoffs,” he said. “You have a goal when you come in and you think you can get there. You want to strive to try to get there, and you hope you can do it.”
What did Saunders see as positive areas this season?
“We’ve had some improvement, when you look at our two rookies in Dieng and Shabazz, they proved they can be rotation-type players,” Saunders said. “Kevin Love has had a phenomenal year this year. I love the way Rubio has played this last three weeks or four weeks. … We have to keep on working and find a way to keep Pekovic on the floor and cut down on some of the minor injuries we’ve had. Like I said, we’ve had some improvement, but there is also some disappointment.”
• If Tennessee does offer Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino a job, it would be hard for him to turn it down because it’s one of the best jobs in the country. While at Texas Tech, Bob Knight had a chance to get the Tennessee job and he later talked about what a big mistake he made by not taking it.
• Mortenson Construction Company will have the new Mayo Clinic Square in Block E ready for the 2014-15 season. Progress is also being made on the plan to remodel Target Center, with a list of nine architects who applied for the job narrowed down to two finalists.
• Last week was a big one for former Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy, now with Baltimore, and Carlos Gomez, who the Twins traded to Milwaukee for Hardy, with both players receiving their Gold Glove awards for last season.
• Tom Serratore, the Gophers hockey player who signed a tryout contract with the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL following the Frozen Four, had one goal after two games. Former Gophers defenseman Mark Alt assisted on the goal.
• Three former Wolves coaches will have teams in the NBA playoffs: Toronto’s Dwane Casey, Washington’s Randy Wittman and Houston’s Kevin McHale.
• Cole Aldrich, the former Bloomington Jefferson and Kansas basketball star who previously has played with Oklahoma City, Houston and Sacramento, has finally gotten a chance to play with the New York Knicks. Aldrich, who was averaging 1.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game, had 13 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday to lead the Knicks over Brooklyn 109-98 and 13 points and 16 rebounds in 40 minutes as the Knicks beat Toronto 95-92 on Wednesday.
• Apple Valley point guard Tyus Jones recently played with the USA team at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, Ore., and he scored 13 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and dished out a team-high six assists in an 84-73 victory over a team composed of international recruits.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. email@example.com