Without fanfare: Is tonight's game Adelman's last with the Wolves?

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2014 - 7:33 AM

 

Twenty-five years and 1,042 victories since he coached his first NBA game, the Timberwolves’ Rick Adelman is expected to walk away from the sidelines after Wednesday’s regular-season finale into retirement and toward a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

When he does, he will do so with almost no fanfare, without even the public presentation of a single rocking chair to wish him well.

He could quite simply — given his silence about the matter in this season’s final weeks — just walk off into the mist.

“You know what? That’s him,” said Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin, who has played for Adelman in Sacramento, Houston and Minnesota. “That’s how he has always been. It has worked for him. That’s probably how he would want it.”

A family man who often says little unless he is giving an honest answer to a question, Adelman clearly has been careful not to address his future in these days and weeks leading to Wednesday’s regular-season finale against Utah at Target Center.

“You’re right,” Adelman said before Monday night’s 130-120 loss at Golden State. “One more day.”

Adelman is 67 and he is completing the third of three playoff-less seasons with the Wolves during which his wife, Mary Kay, has been treated for seizures. One season remains on the four-year contract Adelman signed in September 2011, but either he or the Wolves can choose to end it within a two-week window after Wednesday’s game.

“It’s a tossup right now,” Wolves star Kevin Love said when asked about Adelman’s future, “and everybody is feeling this could be it for him.”

Sacramento coach Mike Malone, the son of former NBA coach Brendan Malone, approached Adelman after Sunday’s game for an exchange that went beyond the usual postgame nod of congratulations.

“I think Rick’s respected to the point where Coach Malone went up to him and said his words to him at the end of the game,” Martin said. “He’s respected like that around the league and the front offices. He’s just a low-key guy. If you know basketball, you know what he has done and he’s OK with that.”

An early break

A point guard who played for five different teams in seven NBA seasons, Adelman figured he would teach and coach high school basketball the rest of his life after the Kansas City-Omaha Kings cut him in 1975. His first coaching job at little Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore., attracted the attention of Trail Blazers legendary coach Jack Ramsay, who hired him over another candidate named George Karl for an assistant coaching job in 1983.

All these years later, Adelman and Karl are two of only eight men in NBA history who have won 1,000 games as a head coach. Coincidentally, Karl could be a candidate to replace Adelman as the Wolves’ next head coach.

Six years after he beat out Karl for that assistant’s job, Adelman was promoted to head coach in midseason and inherited a team that included Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and soon added Buck Williams. Adelman took the Trail Blazers to two NBA Finals in the next three seasons.

Over 23 seasons, he has coached 1,790 games in Portland, Golden State, Sacramento, Houston and Minnesota, winning 58 percent of them.

He won with talent and offensive rebounding might in Portland, lost during a brief but enlightening stay at Golden State and adapted to big men Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Brad Miller and their passing talents in Sacramento. During those eight successful seasons with the Kings, he borrowed many motion concepts from assistant coach Pete Carril’s “Princeton” offense, making them his own in a system that became known in the final half of his career as Adelman’s “corner” offense that influenced NBA coaches both young and old.

“Every coach in this league has taken some of his offense,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said.

  • related content

  • Read the replay: Timberwolves Chat with Jerry Zgoda

    Tuesday October 1, 2013

    See what pro basketball writer Jerry Zgoda was talking about with Timberwolves fans during their noon-hour Live Chat.

  • Gameday preview: Utah at Wolves

    Tuesday April 15, 2014

    wolves gameday7 P.M. VS. utah • target center • FSN PLUS, 830-AMPreview: The Timberwolves end their 25th anniversary season with...

  • Chart: NBA coaches with most career victories

    Tuesday April 15, 2014

    among the coaching eliteWolves coach Rick Adelman is eighth among coaches with the most victories in NBA history (regular-season games)....

  • Rick Adelman at a glance

    Tuesday April 15, 2014

    Rick Adelman At a glanceAge: 67Hall of Fame credentials: Adelman is No. 8 in career victories among NBA coaches with...

  • Wolves head coach Rick Adelman

  • WOLVES SEASON FINALE

    7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Utah • Target Center • TV: FSN Plus (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 6:00 PM
Indiana
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Detroit
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Miami
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Chicago 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Carolina
Dallas 6:30 PM
Montreal
Detroit 6:30 PM
Florida
Colorado 7:00 PM
Nashville
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Calgary
Minnesota 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ball State 6:00 PM
Akron
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Western Mich 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Ohio 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Xavier 6:00 PM
Georgetown
Vanderbilt 6:00 PM
Georgia
West Virginia 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Central Mich 6:00 PM
Kent State
Saint Josephs 6:00 PM
La Salle
Nebraska 6:00 PM
Michigan
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Toledo
Tulsa 6:00 PM
Tulane
George Washington 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Indiana State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Tabor College 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Florida 8:00 PM
Alabama
Tennessee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Auburn
Baylor 8:00 PM
Oklahoma State
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State
Fresno State 8:05 PM
San Diego St
UNLV 9:00 PM
Nevada
SD Christian 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Colorado State 10:00 PM
Boise State
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Campbell 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Coastal Carolina 6:00 PM
High Point
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Radford
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Liberty
Winthrop 6:00 PM
Longwood
Columbia International 6:00 PM
Charleston Southern
Tulane 7:00 PM
Houston
(3) Baylor 7:00 PM
TCU
Navy 7:00 PM
American Univ
Valparaiso 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
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