It will come as no surprise that Rick Adelman stepped down as Minnesota Timberwolves coach on Monday. The longtime successful NBA sideline stalker was rumored to be considering a move along those lines last season, and the wear of losing seasons and inability to spend more time with his family clearly has been getting to the coach. With a duel team/coach contract option left to consider for 2014-15, Adelman and the T'wolves decided to part ways on Monday after a 97-133 run in Minnesota – a disappointing mark considering the team’s past wealth of lottery picks and cap space.
That record also isn’t representative of Adelman’s career-long work as a coach, which dates back to 1988. He managed a 1,042-win career and was the lead man on several NBA champion runner-ups, whether they were official (losing in the Finals twice against powerhouses in Detroit and Chicago) or unofficial (falling to the Lakers in a controversial Western Conference finals in 2002). Adelman’s offenses were renowned for their spacing, and with the possible exception of fitful turns in Minnesota and Golden State, few ever walked away from a season with Rick Adelman in charge thinking the coach was the problem.
Adelman coached the Portland Trail Blazers, the Warriors, the Sacramento Kings, the Houston Rockets and Timberwolves. His offenses were a thing of beauty, whether he was letting Clyde Drexler run a break with his head down or Jason Williams dash pell-mell, or working a gloriously spaced half-court set. Those hallmarks carried over into his later years with the Rockets and Timberwolves, but injuries (Houston) and front-office limitations (Minnesota employed David Kahn as general manager until 2013) got in the way of Adelman’s teams reliving past glories.
Rick will move back to Portland to be with his family, but he will maintain an adviser’s role with the Timberwolves. Here are a few of his quotes from Monday’s news conference announcing his retirement, which was pitched alongside Timberwolves president Flip Saunders and general manager Milt Newton:
Rick: "I'm not coming back. It's time, it's time for me to step aside."— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) April 21, 2014
Rick called decision "gradual thing that just kept coming."— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) April 21, 2014
Rick says wife's illness had an impact, said it doesn't believe it affected the job he did. "Maybe I'm blind to that."— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) April 21, 2014
Rick: "My wife and I want to enjoy other things. Want to Christmas at home with the kids. I'll miss it, no doubt I'll miss it."— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) April 21, 2014
Rick: "There's a sadness. It's been your life. But there's also a relief. I'm ready and my wife's ready to move on to another phase."— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) April 21, 2014
Flip: "I don't consider Rick a coach, I consider him a teacher."— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) April 21, 2014
Adelman on his replacement: "I fully trust that (Flip and Milt) are going to do the right thing."— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) April 21, 2014
For a more thorough look on Rick Adelman’s career, Ball Don’t Lie published this retrospective of sorts earlier in April.
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