Adelman says core in place for a winner, with or without him

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2014 - 9:29 AM

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman looked back Wednesday at the season that was and the season that likely will be without him and declared the playoffs in reach.

Just not this season, of course.

“I don’t think they’re that far away,” Adelman said before the game against Utah. “Even this year, we could finish six games back of the ninth seed and one more behind the eighth seed. That doesn’t take that much. Look at this group: Kevin Martin’s nine years in the league, but everybody else that we play are young and those people have to take that next step to be a better player.

“Then you add a couple people and suddenly you’re there.”

That’s assuming, of course, that one of those players is Kevin Love, who can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2015.

Adelman again declined to comment on his future. But he used his pregame session with reporters to reminisce, when asked, about his career. He drew a correlation between the very first NBA team he coached — the 1990s Portland Trail Blazers he took to two NBA Finals in three seasons — and the Wolves.

“I say to people all the time, when I took over the Portland job we were .500 that year,” said Adelman, who was promoted from assistant in February 1989, replacing the fired Mike Schuler. “But we had Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey, Kevin Duckworth, Clyde Drexler, four pretty good players. But three of them made huge jumps the next year, we added Buck Williams and Cliff Robinson, and suddenly we’re in the playoffs, we’re in the Finals.”

One more day …

Though Adelman deflected questions about his future, he suggested that could change as soon as Thursday after he meets with Wolves owner Glen Taylor and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders.

“I’m not going to say anything about that right now,” he said. “I need to sit down with Glen and Flip and we need to talk about the situation. Then it will be determined. As I said before, I want these guys to finish the season out and I’ve asked them to stay with it. Don’t start looking ahead, thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Get this win tonight.

“That’s how I tried to approach it. If I did it any other way, I wouldn’t be doing what I asked them to do.”

Old-timers

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin played one season for Adelman in Sacramento. He also was coached by Adelman at the 1985 Chicago predraft camp when Adelman was a Portland assistant and Corbin was a DePaul forward about to be selected in the second round by San Antonio.

“He’s just a guy we’ll miss,” Corbin said. “You would like to be playing on, both of us. But if it’s the end of him, I wish him well. He deserves a break. He’s a great guy. You want the best for him. It would be bittersweet to see his last game.”

Etc.

• Coaching superagent Warren Legarie was at the game. He said it was to visit with Wolves guard Alexey Shved’s European agent, a friend. He gave the impression client George Karl wouldn’t be interested in a rebuilding job such as the Wolves’.

• By scoring his first nine points Wednesday, Love became the first NBA player to record at least 2,000 points, 900 rebounds and 100 three-pointers in a season.

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