The lockout is over. So, too, is the NBA’s gag order on executives and coaches.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor -- influential in negotiations because of his position as Board of Governor’s chairman – spoke on Wednesday in his first comments in months and months during a conversation I had with him by phone from his office in Mankato.
Here’s the story I wrote for the Thursday paper and the web site on his thoughts about the new deal, how he thinks Wolves fans are curious enough and excited enough about this young team to come back even after two months’ missed and other things from the 149-day lockout.
As always, there was LOTS from our conversation that didn’t make the paper. So here’s a good bit of the leftovers:
* He never commented on the hiring of Rick Adelman two months ago, so now….
“We had the chance to interview six coaches with experience on this thing. I just think it ended up with Rick’s experience and track record that he came out on top of a group of other very good candidates. “I liked him personally. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the other guys, I just think after interviewing them all, David and I, it was a fairly easy choice for us to pick Rick based on his experience.”
* I asked him if he had to sell Adelman on the job?
“No, not in that way,” he said. “At the very beginning when we first contacted him, he just said he needed time and he wanted to talk to his family and those things. We didn’t pressure him. We were just patient. When we finally came back to him, it wasn’t like we had to talk him into anything. He and I had never met before and had a dinner conversation or anything. The most we had ever said to each other was `Hi,’ before and it was an opportunity to get to know each other. “Now it was different with David. David knew him and he knew David very well, so they were able to just sort of pick up on that.”
* I asked him about that Yahoo!Sports column that said Taylor had to sell Adelman on the job and close the deal because Adelman wanted nothing to do with dealing with Kahn.
“I didn’t see that at all, that Rick wasn’t favorably impressed with David,” Taylor said. “I sat in a couple meetings with the three of us together. He was very supportive of David and David of him. I don’t know where that came from. I didn’t see it all. It didn’t appear to me that there was anything but respect for each other.” ·
* Kahn has just this season left on his three-year contract. I asked him has offered or is considering an extension for him.
“No, he hasn’t asked for it and we haven’t brought it up because, just because we have more important thing to do worrying about our play,” he said.
* He said he is hopeful the team can sign Kevin Love to a contract extension.
The Wolves can sign him to a four-year extension starting Dec. 9 unless they make him a maximum-salary Designated Player. Each team now can offer one player that designation and a five-year extension, but they can only have one such player on their roster and it’s not likely the Wolves will offer Love a max contract. In any other season, teams had until Oct. 31 to re-sign a fourth-year player still on his rookie contract or risk having him become a restricted free agent the next summer.
This year’s deadline apparently is one of the many details not yet worked out. We’ll see what David Kahn has to say about it Thursday morning when he addresses the media for the first time on player matters since the lockout began July 1.
* He said the team still could hold training camp in Mankato because Kahn likes the idea of taking the team – particularly one with two important new players and a new coach – away from the Twin Cities for camp. You’d think this shortened two-week preseason hurts a young team with new players and new coach more than most teams, but Taylor said the way he looks at it, the Wolves have one thing going for them.
“A team like us, we’ve got our guys signed up and we don’t really have much time to explore trades and these types of things. There are other teams that only have 5 guys signed and so they can’t really do anything until we get a contract signed with the union. They can’t really do anything until then, so those teams will be really compressed and have a lot of things to do on the 9th, 10th and 11th.”