Wolves get back to work

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2013 - 6:36 AM

Wolves coach Rick Adelman returns for his third season, hoping to complete the turnaround he envisioned was possible when he first arrived.

 

Rick Adelman on Monday finally, unequivocally answered the question whether he really will coach this season by showing up in the flesh and on the job for Timberwolves media day at Target Center.

Right about the same time he won his 1,000th career NBA game last April, Adelman said he wanted to decide his future quickly, in the approaching weeks after he finished a season in which he missed 11 January games while doctors tried to explain and treat his wife Mary Kay’s sudden seizures.

Then he spent almost all summer out of public eye contemplating whether he’d really return to the job, even though he said Monday he always believed he would.

He was back at work for Tuesday’s start of training camp, convinced that doctors in Minnesota and back home in Portland, Ore., have treatment for his wife’s condition under control and certain that at age 67 he still wants to do this.

“It really took quite a long time,” he said. “It’s one of those situations where I said I wanted to make up my mind fairly quick and it’s not a situation where you do that. It’s not something that happens, you operate and it’s over with. It has been a constant process all summer.

“It’s the unknown and I just wanted to be sure. I was pretty sure all along I was coming back — and doing all the things necessary to get ready for it — unless something drastic came up.”

He returns to a team that has just five players still on the roster — and a new front-office decisionmaker — since he accepted the Wolves’ job in September 2011.

On Monday, he talked publicly for the first time after staying silent all summer about new boss Flip Saunders — who is a coach himself moving into upper management — along with the remade roster. Saunders added Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng and brought back Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger to the Kevin Love-Ricky Rubio foundation that convinced Adelman to take the job in the first place two years ago.

“Like any situation, you go on with your life at this point and this job, like a lot of jobs, you have to put your full energy into it,” he said. “I feel really good where we are as an organization. When I came here two years, I was trying to see if we couldn’t change the culture and get things turned around in a positive direction.”

A coach as his boss

His first season as Timberwolves didn’t start until after Christmas, shortened to a truncated training camp and 66-game season by a labor lockout that lasted two months. His second season was interrupted seemingly at every turn by significant injuries to Love, Budinger as well as newly signed Brandon Roy and his January family absence.

“I really thought last year we were on that direction and then everything just went backwards,” Adelman said. “But we’ve added some people this year, and I’m looking forward to see if we can’t make some strides.”

He and Saunders consulted on those offseason changes by telephone all summer, forging a relationship between two lifelong coaches who combined have won 1,640 NBA games. Most of Saunders’ victories came in nine seasons as Wolves coach nearly a decade or more ago.

Saunders returned to the franchise in May, becoming the team’s new president of basketball operations when owner Glen Taylor decided not to extend David Kahn’s contract after four years on the job.

On Monday, Adelman was asked about having another coach — and part team owner — above him.

“For me, it just adds a guy I know, who was a very, very good coach in this league and had some great teams,” Adelman said. “It always helps when you have someone you can get input from, who has been there and been through it. Sometimes you say, ‘You have a coach sitting over your shoulder.’ Well, if I’m going to worry about that, I’m in big trouble. If I were 35 years old, I might be thinking about the situation a little differently.

“I’m still going to make the final decision on what goes on with the team, but I want his input, his ideas. He knows the league really well. He knows what it takes to win, and he’ll add the people he feels can do that. He has such a great understanding of the league. He knows what type of players I wanted.”

Saunders signed Martin, who played for Adelman in both Sacramento and Houston, to a four-year contract worth nearly $28 million. Adelman was so pleased by the addition of a legitimately sized (6-7) shooting guard who can make a three-pointer that, according to Martin, he actually hugged Martin after he signed with the team.

Saunders and Adelman also discussed signing free-agent shooting guards J.J. Redick and O.J. Mayo before the Wolves signed Martin.

“All of them could help us,” said Adelman, whose team was last in the league in three-point shooting last season. “Anybody who could make a shot was going to help us. But Kevin I knew so well and I knew he’s going to get you 20 points every time he steps on the floor.”

Martin, it should be noted, didn’t get a hug when the two men saw each other again Monday.

“I think he got mad that I told everybody he gave me a hug,” Martin said about a coach who rarely publicly expresses his emotions, “so he walked right by me today.”

Defense the key

Adelman in his remarks with reporters left no doubt that he is encouraged with the offensive possibilities presented by having Rubio and Love healthy for the season’s start, Pekovic re-signed and Martin and Brewer signed, even if Budinger starts the season sidelined by the same left knee that kept him out for four months a year ago. Defensively, the team must replace starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko, who turned down $10 million from the Wolves to play for Brooklyn instead.

Adelman said he intends to ask Love to assume more of a “facilitating” role on a team he believes will be able to run more of his famed “corner” offense than last season’s injury-plagued one that was reduced mostly to running pick-and-roll plays.

“We have the potential to be so much better offensively, a much better-balanced team than we were last year,” Adelman said. “It’s not just adding new people. It’s getting some of your old people back. The biggest thing we’re going to have to address is defensively. It’s the first thing I will tell them. They have to get out of their comfort zone. We have a lot of guys who are known in the league as offensive players, but I think they’re also smart players who realize they have to be better at that end of the court to give us a chance to win.”

Adelman returned to work Monday to start the third season of a four-year contract he signed in 2011 that has options for both sides after this season.

“When I took this job, I felt there were some pieces here and we could turn the thing around,” he said. “Things just happened over the last two years that were out of everybody’s control. Coaching [this season], it’s something I wanted to do. I wanted to finish it.”

 

  • related content

  • Video: What took Adelman so long to come back?

    Tuesday October 1, 2013

    A look at why Rick Adelman waited to make his decision about whether to return this season.

  • Video: Rand: Are the Wolves cursed?

    Tuesday October 1, 2013

    Michael Rand asks whether the Timberwolves are cursed with an injury to Chase Budinger before the start of the...

  • It is the season: Wolves media day precedes Tuesday's training-camp start

    Monday September 30, 2013

    Wolves report for training camp lean and ready for franchise's 25th season

  • Photo gallery: Timberwolves media day

    Monday September 30, 2013

    The players posed for photos , did television spots, and goofed-around as another NBA season gets underway.

  • Love doesn't want to talk about the past

    Monday September 30, 2013

    Timberwolves forward Kevin Love reported for duty with his surgically repaired knee and hand reportedly all healed and his body...

  • Wolves training camp roster

    Monday September 30, 2013

    WOLVES TRAINING CAMP ROSTERNo. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. DOB From Yr.11 J.J. Barea G 6-0 175 6/26/1984 Northeastern 713 Corey Brewer F 6-9 188 3/5/1986 Florida 64 Lorenzo Brown G 6-5 186 8/26/1990 North Carolina State R10 Chase Budinger F 6-7 218 5/22/1988 Arizona 433 Dante Cunningham F 6-8 230 4/22/1987 Villanova 45 Gorgui Dieng C 6-11 245 1/18/1990 Louisville R6 Robbie Hummel F 6-8 215 3/8/1989 Purdue R12 Othyus Jeffers G 6-5 210 8/5/1985 Robert Morris 320 Chris Johnson F 6-11 210 7/17/1985 Louisiana State 342 Kevin Love F-C 6-10 260 9/7/1988 UCLA 523 Kevin Martin G 6-7 185 2/1/1983 Western...

  • Rick Adelman

  • New Wolves center Ronny Turiaf clowned around during Monday’s media day.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close