Rambis: Still no word on return with Wolves

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Seven weeks after the Minnesota Timberwolves season ended, Kurt Rambis has not been told whether he will be back for a third year as head coach.

So he finally decided to say something about it.

Rambis said Friday that he still sees himself as the coach of the Timberwolves until he is told otherwise, but admitted to being irked by the lack of communication with team President David Kahn.

“Everybody has reasons for why they conduct the business in the way they want to conduct their business,” Rambis said in his first public remarks about the situation since the season ended April 13. “If you’re asking me if that’s what I would do, no, that’s not how I would handle things. But everybody’s different.”

Kahn was traveling and not immediately available for comment. Assistant GM Tony Ronzone said he could not comment.

Rambis has two years left on the contract he signed in 2009. He has won just 32 games in his first two seasons as coach in Minnesota, a period of upheaval in the roster that left him with the youngest team in the league this season.

Rambis was in town watching a group of veteran free agents work out in front of Ronzone and a few assistant coaches. The coach’s decision to address the media came as a surprise, and Rambis said he has had only “minor conversations” with Kahn in the weeks that have passed since Kahn refused to give him a vote of confidence in the season-ending meeting with the media.

Rambis has shown up in the Twin Cities twice in the last month, once to watch a workout of draft prospects and this week to look at several fringe free agents and Brazilian big man Paulao Prestes, whom the Wolves drafted in the second round last year.

The appearances have been a bit awkward, with the coach-in-limbo going about his business despite the very real possibility that he will not be back next season.

“The way I see it, I’m doing my job,” Rambis said. “I’m still the coach of this team until something happens otherwise. So I’ve got to be watching for talent.”

Kahn spent his first two seasons remaking the roster, turning the Wolves into a young, athletic and inexperienced team. The additions of Michael Beasley, Anthony Tolliver, Luke Ridnour and others made them a better shooting, deeper team.

But the lack of veteran leadership, and some players’ struggles with getting comfortable with the offensive and defensive systems Rambis employs, led to just two more victories than the previous season, a 17-65 mark that was the worst in the league.

Tolliver said that the coach’s uncertain status isn’t really affecting the players, unless the situation drags on until the start of training camp.

“It would be great for him (to get an answer), but for us at this point right now it doesn’t really make too much of a difference,” Tolliver said. “I’ve supported Kurt and think he’s a good coach. He has some things he needs to work on just like we do as players. Nobody’s perfect.

“Hopefully we bring him back,” Tolliver added. “But if they don’t, I have to respect that decision and move forward. It’s a business.”

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