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Updated: January 29th, 2014 4:47pm
Portland columnist predicts Adelman will retire and Love will leave

Portland columnist predicts Adelman will retire and Love will leave

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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1/29/2014
Flip Saunders on Rick Adelman’s pessimistic quotes about the Timberwolves
Flip Saunders on Rick Adelman’s pessimistic quotes about the Timberwolves
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The Timberwolves currently are trying to make it to the playoffs with what we thought would be a talented roster. Certainly it's their most talented team since trading away Kevin Garnett in 2007.

In perhaps a weird statistical quirk, the team struggles mightily in games decided by four points or fewer and in games that could put it above .500.

The pieces are in place to make the playoffs, despite those shortcomings.

But one columnist now questions if two of the most important pieces of the nucleus have one foot out the door.

Kerry Eggers, of the Portland Tribune, wrote a column suggesting Rick Adelman is on the verge of retiring and Kevin Love wants out.

From Eggers' column:

I wish it weren't the case. But I think the Rick Adelman/Kevin Love era in Minnesota is nearing an end.

I won't be surprised if Adelman, the former Trail Blazers coach, retires after this season, completing an illustrious NBA coaching career that will earn him a spot in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

I'll be shocked if Love, the Lake Oswego High grad who will start in the Feb. 16 All-Star Game at New Orleans, remains with the Timberwolves after the trade deadline next season.

Adelman, of course, coached the Trail Blazers in Portland. Love grew up in the area, and Eggers claims to know Love from the days of little league baseball.

These suggestions aren't to be taken lightly, but in reading the column, Eggers outlines from where the conclusions were drawn.

Adelman, 67, is quoted in the column and it reads as if he's once again considering retiring after this season. He thought about walking away last offseason, when his wife, Mary Kay, dealt with illness.

Here are several Adelman quotes from the column:

"When I took this job, I thought we could turn it around," Adelman says. "The first year was just weeding people out. The second year, we had so many injuries. This year, we've made changes, and it looks better. It is better. But how much better can we be?"

...

"We'll take a hard look at it after the season," he says. "As you get older, you get tired of the travel. We gutted the whole thing when I arrived (in Minneapolis), and we have a good nucleus, with some good young players we can build around.

"We need to do some things in the draft. The Blazers got (Damian) Lillard, and he ended up being a real find. We did that in Portland (in the late '80s) with Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey and got something going. That's what we have to do (at Minnesota). It's a matter of getting some breaks, getting a couple of players who can make a difference."

Adelman's contract has a mutual option at the end of the season, according to the column, meaning both he and the team must agree to bring back Adelman.

Will Adelman stick around to mold those difference-makers he talked about? That remains to be seen.

Another question the column raises: Is Kevin Love interested in being one of those difference-makers?

He's under contract through next season, and has a player option for the following (2015-16) season. Some fans fear that Love will spurn the team by opting out of the contract and leaving for another franchise. It's likely that he will opt out, but Love has yet to give an indication that he will leave for another team.

He probably will opt out of the contract because he is one of the best players in the NBA and deserves to be paid as such. If and when he opts out, the Wolves could re-sign him to a richer offer.

Or he could choose to leave.

That seems to be the national perception and that is Eggers' opinion, too. Eggers said he has known Love since Love played little league against Eggers' son.

Here's a clip from the column:

Love probably would prefer to play in Los Angeles, where he was born and attended college at UCLA. He has a home there in the offseason he shares with his girlfriend, actress Cody Horn.

The Wolves surely will attempt to sign Love to another extension. If that doesn't work out, they'll probably opt to trade him prior to the February 2015 trade deadline to get some value in return.

...

We didn't get to the topic of his long-range plans. He's smart enough to keep his thoughts on that to himself, anyway.

But my educated guess is that by the end of the 2014-15 season, Adelman will be enjoying retirement in Portland, and Love will be playing for a new team.

You can read the full column here.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Kevin Love
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