Israeli coach and Adelman go way back

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 16, 2012 - 8:55 AM

 The Wolves coach and Maccabi Bazan Haifa's Brad Greenberg were Blazers assistants long ago.

Brad Greenberg's 35-year career in basketball has taken him up, down and around the basketball world, from college campuses to NBA sidelines and front offices and now all the way to Israel, where he coaches the Maccabi Bazan Haifa team that visits Target Center on Tuesday night for a preseason game against the Timberwolves.

In 1988, his journey took him to Portland, where he worked eight seasons as a scout and player personnel director for a Trail Blazers team that reached two NBA Finals and one Western Conference finals while he was there.

When he arrived there long ago, he met an anonymous assistant coach named Rick Adelman.

Tuesday night, the two coaches will oppose each other more than 20 years after Greenberg helped find the players whom Adelman, after he succeeded boss Mike Schuler, led to the NBA Finals against Detroit and Chicago.

"We've known each other a long time," Adelman said.

In all that time, Adelman has won 971 NBA career games -- eighth all-time -- for five franchises. Meanwhile, Greenberg has done everything from drafting Allen Iverson No. 1 overall as Philadelphia's general manager in 1996 to leading little Radford to the 2009 NCAA tournament to coaching internationally from Venezuela to Israel.

"I knew he had a ton [of victories], a Hall of Fame kind of career," Greenberg said. "He always was -- and he is -- such a level-headed guy. I always marveled that he never got too up, never got too down and he always understood the length of an NBA season and the pace of it. He was a player and he understood the grind of it, that you can't get too excited one way or the other."

Greenberg brings an Israeli first-division pro team to Target Center for the second game of a brief U.S. tour that took them to Golden State for a 108-100 loss last week and returns them Wednesday for Sunday's season opener.

Maccabi Bazan Haifa's roster has six Americans and five Israelis. It also has three players with NBA experience and a lawyer.

"I don't really know anything about them," Adelman said. "They played Golden State pretty tough when they played them four days ago. It looks like they have some players who can play."

Greenberg's team arrived in Minneapolis in time to attend the Wolves' 82-75 victory over Chicago on Saturday night. He and some of his players scouted their Tuesday opponent from luxury-suite seats.

"They're good and they're a smart team, you can see they're going to be a very smart team," Greenberg said. "We played the Warriors and no offense to the Warriors because hopefully they'll have a good season, but it looks like these guys are at a different level as far as how they play. The Warriors have some older players who are more toward the end of their careers, and their younger players have potential, but they're not as good as a guy like Kevin Love is.

"It just looks like this would pose a much greater challenge for us to hang in the game."

Adelman said he expects to have everybody but perhaps guard Malcolm Lee available Tuesday, after Love missed Saturday's game because of a sore elbow and Andrei Kirilenko didn't play for a second consecutive night because of a sore hamstring. Lee practiced Monday for the first time since injuring groin muscles during training camp in Mankato, but he is not expected to play.

"I mean, I don't know why it's such a big deal," Kirilenko said when asked if he will play Tuesday. "It's just a little stretch, nothing serious. Just a precaution. There's no sense right now to aggravate and force it, so Coach decided to give me a couple extra days off to give it a chance to recover better."

Love didn't play Saturday after he slept with his arm hanging off his bed the night before. When he awoke, he could barely shoot a basketball.

"I slept on the other side of the bed this time," Love said. "I'm still not 100 percent, but I'm fine."

  • TIMBERWOLVES PRESEASON

    Up next: 7 p.m. today vs. Maccabi Haifa (Israel) • Target Center • TV: FSN

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