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David Kahn, president of basketball operations of the Timberwolves.

Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune file

Hartman: Kahn given credit for waiting for coach

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN
  • Star Tribune
  • September 14, 2011 - 11:38 PM

While Yahoo! Sports was reporting that Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn and new coach Rick Adelman didn't get along in the 1980s, when Adelman was coaching the Trail Blazers and Kahn was covering the team as a sportswriter for the Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Wolves CEO Rob Moor was giving Kahn all the credit for Adelman's decision to take the Wolves head coaching job.

"I would give the credit to David [Kahn], who has a relationship with Rick that goes back 16 years or more," Moor said. "Kahn just sort of took his time with Rick. Rick sort of had to make his mind up that he wanted to coach."

Adelman had been offered a contract to continue as the Houston coach after last season but at the time he felt that he had enough of basketball and, at the age of 65, it was time to take it easy.

Moor said during the negotiations with Adelman, he never heard of any hard feelings between Kahn and Adelman, and that he wouldn't have come back for a second interview and kept his interest in the job had that situation existed.

Hoopsworld.com reported that Adelman and Kahn did speak after Houston beat the Wolves 121-102 on April 13, but both said that was no big deal at the time.

Moor said the Wolves were in no hurry to name a coach and were willing to wait until Adelman made a decision, even though on his first visit here, Adelman told the Wolves there was a chance he would be interested in coaching the team.

Team owner Glen Taylor is spending a lot of money to make the Adelman signing happen. Despite the fact the Wolves have been losing in the area of $20 million a season for the past five years, Taylor has really stuck his neck out to hire Adelman, including a contract that will certainly be at least four years at $4 million a year, similar to his Houston contract.

In addition, Taylor and the Wolves have to pay off the contract of fired coach Kurt Rambis in full if the league plays this year, and a lesser amount if there is no season. No decision has been made on the hiring of assistant coaches, because all of Rambis' assistants had another year left on their contracts. Four of them will be paid if Adelman doesn't keep them. Only one assistant, J.B. Bickerstaff, landed a job, with Kevin McHale in Houston.

According to Moor, Adelman made his decision last weekend after talking on the phone with Taylor in Mankato and Kahn, who was in Portland. Moor refused to give any details of the contract Adelman agreed to except for saying that it was a multiyear deal.

Position overrated

New Vikings left tackle Charlie Johnson is taking a lot of criticism about his play, but the former member of the Colts -- who protected quarterback Peyton Manning for five years -- disagrees with those who make his position seem more important than it is.

"You know, they make movies about it and all that stuff like that," Johnson said. "It's just another position on the field, honestly. I don't see it as being any different than a guard or the right tackle or a receiver. Everybody has a job to do and in order to be successful, all 11 people have to perform their job."

Johnson has a big booster of Vikings Pro Bowl left guard Steve Hutchinson, who claims his neighbor on the line has done a good job and continues to get better with every game.

RedHawks rested

One big edge for Miami (Ohio) is that after losing to Missouri two weeks ago, it had last week off and this certainly will give the RedHawks an edge in getting ready for the Gophers.

Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said Jerry Kill's coaching staff does have familiarity with Miami after having played it in each of the past three years while they were at Northern Illinois.

"I think it helps from a personnel standpoint with having a new head coach and staff," Limegrover said. "But them playing only one game makes it tough. We've been able to do our research. Personnel-wise, we have a pretty good idea of them.

"We are relying on that and then some past history with some of their coaches."

Kill and his staff were 2-1 against Miami (Ohio) during their three years at Northern Illinois. The lone loss came in the 2010 MAC championship game on a Hail Mary pass with 33 seconds left.

Kill's former squad, the Northern Illinois Huskies, has played well in its first two games this season, defeating Army 49-26 and losing at Kansas 45-42. In that loss, Chandler Harnish, who started three years under Kill, went 27-for-33 for 315 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed 11 times for 89 yards and three touchdowns. The Huskies face Wisconsin at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday.

Jottings

• Look for an announcement soon that Target will renew its naming rights with Target Center.

• The Gophers football team had 35 recruits visit last weekend, including highly touted wide receiver Jamel Harbison of Mallard Creek High School of Charlotte, N.C.

• After New Mexico State beat the Gophers 28-21 on Saturday, Aggies coach and former Gophers player DeWayne Walker credited his team's offensive line and had some real good words about guard Andrew Kersten, who played at Minneapolis Washburn and El Camino (Calif.) Junior College before joining the Aggies. Kersten said former Gophers coach Tim Brewster had talked to Kersten about walking on at Minnesota at one time.

• The Vikings and the NFL/LISC Grassroots Program have awarded Washburn High $200,000 to help pay for synthetic turf.

• Former Gophers pitcher John Gaub, who was originally drafted by the Twins in 2003 and didn't sign, then again by Cleveland in 2006, had a lot of arm trouble while in the Indians organization. After going 4-4 with a 3.42 ERA for the Cubs' Class AAA team in Des Moines, he was elevated to the Cubs. On Monday he made his major league debut, working 1 1/3 innings in relief and allowing two runs and one hit.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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