Report: Vinny Del Negro Not the Front-Runner for Timberwolves' Coaching Gig

Ben Leibowitz@BenLeboCorrespondent IIIMay 30, 2014

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The Minnesota Timberwolves are still among the list of NBA teams in the midst of a coaching search. Vinny Del Negro is considered a candidate to replace the retired Rick Adelman, but he’s not seen as the front-runner for the position.

According to the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda, “one of the league sources with knowledge of the search said it’s unlikely Del Negro will be hired.”

Zgoda noted that this is contrary to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein, who wrote that Del Negro is “said to have made a strong impression on the Wolves in their talks to date,” and was considered to be “firmly in the mix” for the job.

In five seasons as a head coach, Del Negro accumulated a regular-season record of 210-184 for a winning percentage of 53.3 percent. He coached the Chicago Bulls in 2008-09 and 2009-10, compiling an even 41-41 mark in each of those two seasons. Chicago was bounced from the Eastern Conference's first round in back-to-back years during that span.

Most recently, Del Negro spent time on the sideline for the Los Angeles Clippers. His teams improved from a record standpoint in three straight seasons, but postseason success eluded the Clips under Del Negro.

Los Angeles Clippers' Records by Year Under Del Negro
2011-1240-26Lost W. Conf. Semis
2012-1356-26Lost W. Conf. 1st Rnd.

He was subsequently replaced with former NBA Coach of the Year Doc Rivers following a 56-win campaign in 2012-13 that resulted in a disappointing first-round exit against the No. 5 seed Memphis Grizzlies.

Del Negro’s all-time coaching record in the playoffs sits at 10-19.

The T-Wolves have also interviewed Sam Mitchell, Lionel Hollins and Scott Skiles in addition to pursuing Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, according to Zgoda.

While any of those candidates (save for Hoiberg) could ultimately be tabbed as the guy to replace Adelman, it doesn’t appear as if Minnesota plans to make a decision in the near future.

“We’re not rushed for time to select a coach,” general manager Milt Newton said, per Zgoda. “The process will take care of itself. I guarantee we will have one before the season starts next year.”

While the ongoing Kevin Love saga will continue to dominate headlines coming out of Minnesota, finding the team’s next coach remains a huge priority.

The Timberwolves have now failed to reach the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons. Del Negro was made the scapegoat for many shortcomings in Chicago and Los Angeles, but his teams still reached the postseason in four out of five years under his guidance. That should count for something.