Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn has decided to fire coach Kurt Rambis, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Kahn isn't expected to announce the decision until after Thursday's NBA draft, but he's already begun collecting information on prospective replacements for Rambis, including University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, sources said. The Timberwolves have gathered background on Romar for several weeks, and are expected to make him a candidate to replace Rambis.
Bernie Bickerstaff, an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, will be one of the primary focuses of the Wolves' search, sources said. Bickerstaff's son, J.B., had been an assistant on Rambis’ staff, and one scenario could have J.B. serving under his father as a coach-in-waiting.
Bickerstaff has been the head coach of four teams, including the Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Denver Nuggets and Seattle SuperSonics. His career record is 414-512.
Kahn met with Rambis last week and believes he has reached an impasse with the coach. The relationship between Kahn and Rambis deteriorated over the course of the past season, to the point where there's been little communication between them.
Rambis has two years left on his original four-year contract. With the Timberwolves in the midst of a major rebuilding project, he went 32-132 as their coach, including a league-worst 17-65 this season.
Kahn told reporters he'd made the unusual request of asking Rambis to file a written report to him on changes Rambis would make if he returned as coach. He also said Rambis won't attend the Timberwolves' draft on Thursday night.
Kahn had wanted Rambis to become a better communicator with players. He also wanted him to design an offense away from the triangle and toward the open-court talents of rookie point guard Ricky Rubio(notes). Rambis' relationship with key young players, especially Kevin Love(notes), had been frayed, at best.