A changing of the guard in Minnesota may be nigh.
The Star Tribune's Sid Hartman reports, "There is no chance — zero — of Rick Adelman returning as Timberwolves head coach next season, according to one of the team’s decision-makers. Look for an announcement to that effect soon."
The move, if true, couldn't help but raise speculation that the franchise is getting a head start in doing any and everything it can to impress Kevin Love before he entertains free agency in 2015. Fox Sport's Phil Ervin recently noted that, "Minnesota has an offseason to build, persuade and maneuver in ways that sell Love on staying. Or, the front office could bail and deal him this summer in hopes of securing the most return for the 2008 draft's No. 5 overall pick."
Perhaps this is just part of the persuading and maneuvering.
Hartman also offered this little Nugget:
I still think Flip Saunders, Wolves president of basketball operations, wants to coach. Even though Taylor says he prefers to have the team president and coach be two different people, I think Saunders could talk Taylor into letting him coach.
Of course, for all we know at this point, the parting could be something of a mutual one. There's no telling just yet how much pressure the organization is putting on Adelman, if any. He may want out.
Hartman cites owner Glen Taylor's belief that Adelman "has to determine what’s in the best interest for his family right now," with his wife, Mary Kay, suffering through seizures for the last few seasons. There was talk of Adelman potentially resigning after the 2012-13 campaign because of her health.
If, however, this is the Wolves' doing, it would be a bizarre way to assess blame.
After agreeing to a massive contract extension with the organization in 2013, Nikola Pekovic played in just 54 games this season due to injury. Kevin Martin played in just 68. And there's no way to fault Adelman for all the games Love missed in 2012-13.
Nevertheless, this is Adelman's third losing season with the club. By now there are certainly some indications that things aren't clicking. Good as this team has been at putting up tons of points, its defense has remained problematic—ranking 26th in points allowed this season. To put a winner on the floor, Minnesota may look to pursue more defensively-minded leadership to usher in a turnaround.
Whether this is Adelman's decision or the franchise's, it could prove to be a win-win. The Wolves need a quick turnaround to keep Love from being lured by big markets and the opportunity to win. A new face may help.
Adelman may not be the only change we see this offseason. With a roster that seems to be missing something beyond cohesion, other personnel upgrades could be in order.
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