The Minnesota Timberwolves played their last game of the 2010-11 NBA season on April 13th, finishing up with a dreadful 17-65 record. It then took ninety days for general manager David Kahn to fire head coach Kurt Rambis, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
The leading candidates for the job include Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Bickerstaff’s son, J.B., an assistant with the T’wolves under Rambis, joined Kevin McHale’s staff with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, Y! Sports’ Marc Spears reported. Timberwolves general manager David Kahn also has shown interest in University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, but it could be difficult for the T’wolves to lure Romar from the successful college program he’s helped build.
Yahoo! Sports reported on June 22 that Kahn had made the decision to fire Rambis and had begun researching possible replacements, but it took until Tuesday for the general manager to formally part ways with Rambis.
Rambis led the team to an uninspiring 32-132 record after two seasons while running the offense in a triangle system that wasn’t as effective being run by a rebuilding team of largely youthful players as, say, a veteran star-studded team like the Los Angeles Lakers that Rambis was a part of as an assistant coach. Had Rambis stayed on with the Lakers he would have been a serious candidate for the head coaching position after Phil Jackson’s retirement. Ultimately, Kahn’s “indecisiveness” could have cost Rambis another crack at the position with the Lakers moving on and hiring former Cleveland Cavs coach Mike Brown over Brian Shaw, another former Laker player with a prominent role on Jackson’s bench.
Ultimately, Rambis never clicked with the players and certainly not with Kahn. The embattled general manager made a recent appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast “The B.S. Report” and claimed that the two were engaged in hours-long meetings to discuss the future of the franchise. Kahn also expressed his concerns over the triangle offense and partially attributed it as a reason why lottery pick Johnny Flynn’s development as an NBA player had been stunted. He also stated his desire for the offense to pick up the pace and play a more entertaining brand of basketball that the fans wanted to see.
These plans don’t include Rambis and while he may have struggled to get his message across to the team, he also didn’t deserve to be strung about while other coaching positions like the Lakers, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors were open and are now closed.
The Wolves will now look towards the future with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio joining a talented, but disjointed, team that is still searching for their identity after the departure of their franchise player Kevin Garnett to greener pastures.
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