Adelman might be warming to the job

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 24, 2011 - 6:39 PM

The veteran coach was in town for an interview after earlier saying he didn't have any plans to coach the 2011-12 season.

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Rick Adelman finally came to the Twin Cities on Tuesday and interviewed with the Timberwolves about their coaching opening.

Photo: Charles Krupa, Associated Press

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Long believed to be the frontrunner if he wants the job, Rick Adelman finally came to the Twin Cities on Tuesday and interviewed with the Timberwolves about their coaching opening.

Three weeks after he told an Oregon newspaper that he has no plans "right now" to coach next season, Adelman met with Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn, owner Glen Taylor and CEO Rob Moor before catching a flight home, a league source with knowledge of the team's search said.

He is the seventh and final candidate -- Don Nelson, Sam Mitchell, Mike Woodson, Larry Brown, Bernie Bickerstaff and Terry Porter are the others -- to interview for a job that became vacant when Kurt Rambis was fired last month after two seasons as head coach.

Adelman first talked with Kahn about the job at some length by phone more than a month ago, but didn't interview in person, as the other six candidates did previously, until Tuesday, nearly two weeks after Brown was the last candidate to interview.

He has coached four NBA teams in the past two decades, mostly recently with Houston. The Rockets and Adelman parted ways after last season, when the four-year, $16.25 million contract he signed in 2007 expired.

He's expected to command a contract of at least three years and $4 million to $5 million annually -- if not more -- should the Wolves reach an agreement with him.

Adelman, 65, took a year off from coaching after his first three NBA head-coaching jobs, with Portland, Golden State and Sacramento.

His family apparently wants him to take at least a season off, if not outright retire. More than one NBA league executive or coach initially believed the Wolves' job was too big of a rebuilding project at this stage of his life to attract Adelman, who had differences with a Rockets management team that wanted him to play younger players more last season.

Adelman fits the description -- a successful NBA coach who believes in fast-paced basketball -- for the kind of coach Kahn last month said he wants to replace Rambis.

His hiring also would be a proactive move toward convincing All-Star forward Kevin Love to sign a long-term contract extension.

Adelman and Love have had a friendly relationship since Love's high school days. That's when Adelman watched nearly every game Love played his senior year because Adelman's son played on the same Lake Oswego, Ore., team during the season he took off after leaving the Kings.

Nelson and Brown have won hundreds more career games than him, but Adelman's career winning percentage of .605 -- 945-616 in 20 seasons -- is the best of the seven candidates.

Near the end of last season, Adelman told reporters in Houston that he still has the passion to coach.

"I don't think I've lost the desire to coach," he said then. "I think I still can do it."

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