Wolves' Adelman plans to have big offseason input
By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As the Minnesota Timberwolves wrap up another disappointing season, coach Rick Adelman said they need to be very active with trades and free agency this summer. And he plans to have a significant say in who the team targets.
The veteran coach plans to have a central role in any transactions this summer, while working closely with team president David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor.
"I better have some input," Adelman said before the season finale against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. "When I signed on here it was pretty well understood that between David and Glen and myself, we were going to talk things through and decide what is going to happen. I didn't come here just to say, `Here give me these guys, I'll coach them.'"
Adelman wasn't making a demand or saying anything that would surprise Kahn or Taylor. The two executives were more than happy to give Adelman those assurances when they were negotiating with him after he parted ways with Houston.
Kahn and Adelman have known each other for years, dating to Kahn's days as a sports writer in Portland when Adelman coached the Trail Blazers. When Kahn convinced Adelman to join him in Minnesota, he did so with the idea that the two would work closely to rebuild the team, and their relationship did help Adelman in his decision not to take a year off before coaching again.
Kahn and previous head coach Kurt Rambis clashed repeatedly in the two years they worked together over the construction of the roster and the strategies on the court, but there has been no signs of similar conflict with Adelman this season. Kahn planned to address the media in a season-ending news conference on Friday along with Adelman.
What has been the same has been the poor finish to the season. The Wolves had lost 12 of their last 13 heading into the finale and were 1-27 in their last 28 games played in April. Adelman hasn't hidden his displeasure with the way his team has responded to injuries to stars Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, and has hinted that a major makeover is needed this summer to add veterans to a young and immature team.
"It's going to be a really big summer," Adelman said. "I don't think we can be non-aggressive this summer. We have to strike and see who we can add to this group. I really believe if we come back healthy, that's a big thing, and you add a couple pieces, then we're in the mix because we were in the mix before all these injuries."
The 65-year-old coach did say he will definitely come back next season, even though his patience has been tested by a young team that folded after all the injuries.
"I think there's a job to do here, right now," Adelman said. "That's my only thought process, to try to prepare for the summer, and I don't want to go through the (poor) April again. I don't want to do that again. It's too hard. We have a better group than that."
The Wolves should have plenty of cap room - perhaps as much as $13 million, depending on which players are brought back - to lure free agents and assist in making trades. And with a core of Love, Rubio and Nikola Pekovic, Adelman thinks they have a nice group to build around.
"I think I have a pretty good understanding," he said. "I have a really experienced staff that has evaluated these guys. I think our input and our opinion should weigh a lot, because we were with these guys all year and I think we know what it takes to win and what type of players you need."
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Updated April 26, 2012