Adelman expects decision on his future to be made in next few days
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rick Adelman era in Minnesota in all likelihood came to an end on Wednesday night, as the Timberwolves wrapped up their season with a double overtime loss to the Utah Jazz.
For the last several weeks, most indications have been that the 67 year old Adelman plans to retire, capping an impressive 23-year NBA head coaching career.
But in classic Adelman fashion, the veteran coach stayed away from answering questions about whether Wednesday was indeed his final game.
"I'm not going to say anything about it right now," he said. "I need to sit down with (Wolves owner) Glen (Taylor) and (president of basketball operation) Flip (Saunders) and we need to talk about the situation and then it will be determined."
Then Adelman added with a smile: "Certainly I'd be lying if I said my wife and I haven't talked about, but I'm not going to tell you what we said. Tomorrow everything will come together."
Adelman said he plans on meeting with Wolves management on Thursday. A final decision on Adelman's future should be officially known in the next few days. Adelman has a mutual fourth-year option in his contract. Either side can choose to opt out, but the move must be made within the next two weeks.
It is also fair to consider that even if Adelman wanted to coach another year, would the Wolves want him to?
In what has been a frustrating season that fell well short of expectations, Wednesday's game in a way provided a fitting conclusion. With a low energy first half, the Wolves had to claw their way back in the fourth quarter to force overtime. But once in the extra session, they couldn't come up with enough production to finish the game and their season on a high note.
The Wolves entered the night with the chance to end the year at the .500 mark, which they had been hovering around all season long. Instead, the loss sent them sputtering to a 40-42 record -- the franchise's ninth straight losing season.
It wasn't the way Adelman wanted to go out, whether for just this season or his career as a whole.
"I'm just disappointed," Adelman said. "I'm disappointed in this game, that we weren't able to do more throughout the whole year."
Afterwards, the Wolves players all stuck with the response that they didn't know if Wednesday was Adelman's final game. But the feeling was mutual in the locker room that, as Kevin Martin put it, "if this was Coach's last hurrah, it was very disappointing."
Given the circumstances, the postgame media session was filled primarily with retrospective questions. When asked about what it's been like having Adelman as a coach for the last three years, forward Kevin Love gave a strong reply.
"It's been unbelievable," Love said. "He has a great family. He's a tremendous human being. But I just feel bad we haven't been able to take him as far as some of the other teams he's coached."
And so the offseason begins. An announcement on Adelman's future will only be the start of several moves that are likely to follow for the Wolves in the coming months, including the search for a new coach. Minnesota's roster is sure to undergo numerous tweaks as Saunders and Co. try to find the right formula that could make the Wolves a true contender for putting an end to a now 10-year playoff drought next season.
"I don't think they're that far away," Adelman said (note his use of "they" instead of "we"). "You look at this group, I think sometimes people forget, Kevin Martin is a nine-year pro, but everyone else that we play is young. And those people have to take the next step to be a better player and a more all around player. Then you add a few people and all of a sudden you're there."