No basketball, but two coaches?
- Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
- July 12, 2011 - 3:49 AM
Last time we checked, Kurt Rambis still is Timberwolves' coach but that isn't stopping Davis Kahn from continuing his pursuit of a new coach apparently.
On Monday, the Oregonian newspaper in Portland reported that the Wolves late last week asked the Trail Blazers for permission to talk to Blazers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff about the team's still-filled head coaching job.
Bickerstaff's contract with the Blazers expired on July 1 -- which is also when the current labor lockout began -- but he has been negotiating with the Blazers about a new one.
The idea with hiring Bickerstaff -- 67 and a head coach with four different NBA teams during his long career when he also was a president and GM -- would be to sign him for a year or two while his son J.B. is groomed to take over the job when he's ready.
J.B. is a young up-and-comer and the players like him.
If that's the direction they decide to go, why not just hire him now as head coach and bring his dad in as his top assistant?
There's a couple other reasons this makes sense: J.B. would work cheap and he'll take the job in an instant.
And with the way this debacle has played out, that latter quality might be getting harder and harder to come by.
The Wolves' insistence at dragging this out presumably to save money just makes the franchise from around the league look even more mismanged, if that's possible.
At this point, the question becomes: Who will take this job once the Wolves complete the formality of firing Rambis -- or at least determine officially he won't be back as coach?
Some of the possibilties:
* Milwaukee assistant coach Kelvin Sampson -- a candidate for the Pistons' job -- was on the Wolves' list of six or seven possibilities back in March, before the team finished the season by losing its final 15 games. He fits the same mold as University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, who Kahn reportedly had been compiling information about: A teacher and motivator with a college background, used to dealing with college-age players.
* Former Toronto coach Sam Mitchell. There's a connection to owner Glen Taylor there because, of course, Mitchell once played for the Wolves. But Mitchell, now an assistant to Avery Johnson in New Jersey, has to be careful about choosing his next head-coaching job when it comes along because if he chooses unwisely, it could very well be his last chance. It's no slam dunk he'd take it if it were offered. And there's no evidence that Mitchell is high on Kahn's list.
* Former Houston coach Rick Adelman. Like former Nets coach Lawrence Frank, you'd assume Adelman wouldn't even pick up the phone if the Wolves called but not so fast. He's at an age and point in his career where he doesn't need a job or the money, but...he does have a relationship with Kevin Love since Love's high-school days playing with Adelman's son in Lake Oswego, Ore., and there is talent on this team.
Yes, it's awfully young, but there's talent there nonetheless. And coaching gets in these guys' blood...
Of course, the lockout is the complicating factor in all this and almost certainly the reason why Kahn is looking for a new coach while he already has one.
This whole dance likely has been mostly about trying to get Rambis to accept less than the $4 million owed him for the remaining two years on his contract.
He wants his money, and he's not going to accept a front-office job to get it. It's why he insisted upon a four-year contract back in August 2009, just in case something like this happened.
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