Adelman revisited: On his contract, coaching staff and other stuff

  • Blog Post by: Jerry Zgoda
  • September 29, 2011 - 3:59 PM

Here's some this and that left in my notebook from Wednesday's news conference that introduced Rick Adelman as the next Timberwolves coach:

* Here's the story for Thursday's paper that touches on a variety of things, including the relationship between Adelman and Kahn that has been a talking point since that Yahoo!Sports column a few weeks back.

* The contract is worth a bit more than $20 million for four years. Each side has an option for the final season so if both Adelman and the team agree, they could end it after three years. But if he wants the entire $20M, it’s his.

Asked if the money was what convinced him to take the job, he said, “I think anybody who’s working, money is a factor for sure. But I would not say it was the tipping point.”

 * First priority: Completing the coaching staff.

Two of Adelman’s sons – R.J., who was on his staff in Houston, and David, who just quit his job coaching a Portland, Ore., area high school team – are coming with him.

Former UNLV head coach and former Trail Blazers Bill Bayno will be hired.

Jack Sikma and T.R. Dunn – two of his assistants in Houston – likely will be hired but that might not be finalized until it looks like a labor deal is close.

As for first assistant, Adelman would love to get Elston Turner, who coordinated the defense for him in Houston, back but Turner accepted a job in Phoenix earlier this summer and don’t expect the Suns to let him go. Not an impossible negotiation, mind you, but not likely.

Terry Porter, one of the seven candidates interviewed for the head job, is a possibility, too, because of his relationship with both Adelman and Kahn. (He played for Adelman in Portland on those two NBA finals teams.)

* Adelman talked a lot Wednesday about trust and how he likes to surround himself with people he’s known a long time and trusts.

The Bayno hire is interesting because the two don’t have a relationship. Bayno knows Kahn and Wolves scout Pete Philo and the hire came about that way, although obviously Adelman did his research and approved it.

Why would Adelman accept management's suggestion this time when the big reason he didn't return to Houston is the Rockets GM wanted him to hire D League coach Chris Finch?

Perhaps as simple as: You can interpret Finch as being groomed to be a successor -- the Flip Saunders to Bill Blair or Randy Wittman to Dwane Casey -- while Bayno doesn't have any such head-coach aspirations.

My hunch is that, with Bayno’s personal history with alcoholism and a form of an obsessive/compulsive disorder, he’s being brought in partly to work with Michael Beasley off the court.

* Adelman's sons each come with a history of drunken driving.

David has been arrested twice on DUI charges since 2005, most recently in February 2009 but kept coaching at Lincoln High School.

R.J. took a leave of absence from the Rockets after being arrested for DUI in November 2007.

 * Adelman said he didn’t talk to Kurt Rambis when he was contemplating taking the job and doesn’t plan on doing so now.

“Everybody has their own situation,” he said. “Next year’s not going to be the same as the previous years. I think you have to formulate your own answers and your own questions about the team. I think that’s the best way to do it. I don’t think when I left a team the coach who took over after me ever called me. They want to do it their own way. I think that’s how I’ll do it. It’s not going to be the same.”

 * He was asked about how this situation compares to the two losing seasons he had with Golden State in the 1990s.

“This team is so much younger. I was really surprised when I really started getting into it, the age of this team. There are so many guys who are just getting out of college, or should be. Whereas there, we had a lot of veterans and we had some free agents that we were going to lose so we made some trades and nothing worked out.

“But this group, there’s young guys here. The biggest challenge for us is going to be evaluating those guys and (determining) who is going to be the key guys here. Everybody knows we have some big numbers at some positions and we won’t have minutes for everybody. So that’s going to be a challenge.

“And I’ve got to find out and I’ve got to find it out quick.”

I tweeted a bit of that quote Wednesday and somebody tweeted back how refreshing it is to hear him say he’s got to find it out quick after listening to Rambis talk constantly about how it takes years and years for young players to develop.

 * Adelman said he doesn’t need or want a “bunch of power or a big voice” in personnel decisions, but he said he needs everyone in the organization.

“I just want a situation where we’re all after the same thing. The places I’ve been really successful at, I’ve always been in tune with the guys in the front office. If I see something on our team, I’ll tell him (Kahn) about it. But I’m not going to be a guy who’s going to go in there demanding that we get rid of a guy. You’ve got to do it for a reason.

“I’ve got to coach the guys that I have, but you have to be on the same page. If the players don’t sense you’re on the same page, you’re going to lose it. If one guy’s telling them one thing and one guy’s telling them another, it’s not going to work.”

When asked about the team’s needs for some veterans, he said that has been discussed.

“I certainly gave my opinion on that,” he said simply.

Kahn said Adelman won’t be involved in replacing assistant GM Tony Ronzone in the front office – whenever that happens – other than to perhaps have lunch with the guy before he’s hired. Kahn said filling out the coaching staff is the first priority.

* The guy’s only had two losing seasons in his 20 full seasons in the league. How will he handle the losing?

“I’ve thought a lot about that,” he said. “I guess you have to go into it to feel like you can make a difference. If that’s the way it’s going to be, you have to be resilient enough to show them that we’re going to get through this.

“Last year, this team lost 15 in a row or whatever. Those are the streaks that try you. You’ve got to try to avoid those. And I think you can avoid them if you keep guys going in the right direction. But it’s going to be hard. I’m the first to admit it. You can ask my wife. I’m not real easy to be around when we start losing a lot. But it’s part of the game in the NBA.”

·* He said he learned a lot about resiliency and temperament from working for Jack Ramsay in Portland all those years ago in the 1980s.

“I’m pretty even keel,” he said. “But when you’re losing, I’m not that even keel.”

* He mentioned Dr. Jack, Dick Motta and a guy named Rolland Todd – who coached him during the Trail Blazers’ inaugural season – when asked about his coaching influences.

He came across Wednesday as a mostly hands-off guy who wants to let his players play.

“When I played, I knew how I liked to be coached and how I didn’t like to be coached. I had some guys who kind of let you play. I had a guy in Portland (Todd) when I first went there with an expansion who was the first guy who pushed the ball, played the motion (offense).He just let us play.

“I wasn’t a very good player and I averaged 12 points a game. I felt anybody can average 12 points a game if I can do it, but he let us play. I also had coaches, though, who were so restrictive that you were afraid to do anything. You just knew you were going to get in trouble if you did. I never liked that. I felt there was always a balance to that and it didn’t necessarily have to be where you’re just stepping on people. You can get them to respond in other ways, so I always tried to do that.” 


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