The Minnesota Timberwolves search for a head coach has been more drawn out than an American Idol elimination episode. Rick Adelman has been the favorite for about a month or so, though it feels like a couple of years by now. The lack of movement has been attributed, in part, to the fact that there’s no need to rush on hiring a coach because the lockout will prevent him from really doing anything anyway. Why pay a guy to do nothing?
So Adelman has been in and out of Minnesota for interviews a few times with no real news to report. But now, according to the Star Tribune, we’re getting a glimpse into some of the potential hang ups, including the biggest one: money.
Rick Adelman still looks like the favorite, but here’s the tricky part: I hear he wants at least $5 million a year, and five years — not four — guaranteed. Do the math and that’s at least $25 million, sports fans.
Weeks ago I was told Glen Taylor paid Flip Saunders big money — $5 million a year in his final years – and is willing to do so again with a young group he thinks the franchise can grow with. But…$25 million or more?
That’s a lot of money for any team to be paying a coach, though the Celtics did give Doc Rivers $35 million over five years this summer, making him the highest paid coach in the NBA. If Doc’s setting the bar almost $6 million a year, then $5 million per for Adelman isn’t unreasonable. But will the Timberwolves, who I’m sure aren’t exactly the richest team around, willing to pay that kind of cash.
According to the report, Don Nelson is a possibility in Minnesota as well, and he’d come with a much lower price tag ($10 million over three years). There are other issues explained in that Star Tribune report, which include a potential signal that owner Glen Taylor might be losing a bit of confidence in David Kahn (I can’t imagine why!).
In the end, the Minnesota Timberwolves hiring of a coach will be the signal that the lockout is ending. If Adelman (or someone else) gets the job next week, then it probably won’t be long before we’re talking about free agency and training camps.