- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Timberwolves have announced that they are hiring Rick Adelman as their next coach.

News of Adelman’s deal first came out Monday, and the Timberwolves made the official announcement Tuesday morning. An introductory news conference will be held once the contract is signed, but scheduling conflicts mean that is unlikely to happen this week.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Adelman is 945-616 in 20 seasons as coach of the Trail Blazers, Kings, Warriors and Rockets. He is eighth on the NBA’s career wins list and parted ways with the Rockets in April.

The 65-year-old Adelman replaces Kurt Rambis. He becomes the 10th head coach in franchise history.

“Houston, we have a coach,” All-Star forward Kevin Love tweeted Monday, kicking off the welcoming festivities for an accomplished coach who will be expected to bring credibility and intensity back to a team that has severely lacked both in recent seasons.

He’ll have his work cut out for him at his latest, and perhaps final, stop.

The Timberwolves have won just 32 games over president of basketball operations David Kahn’s first two seasons, including an NBA-worst 17-65 record last year.

With the Timberwolves reeling and struggling to draw fans ever since they traded Kevin Garnett to Boston in 2007, Kahn and owner Glen Taylor set out to make a statement after Kahn’s drawn-out firing of Rambis drew criticism.

In addition to Adelman, the Wolves interviewed Don Nelson, Sam Mitchell, Bernie Bickerstaff, Mike Woodson, Terry Porter and Larry Brown in the kind of deliberate process that has become the hallmark of Kahn’s short tenure.

And even though many around the league expected Adelman to take another year off, wait for the lockout to be resolved and make a run at a team with more veterans that is considered closer to contending for a title, the Wolves managed to convince him to join them.

Adelman came to Minnesota for interviews twice in about a week’s time in August, with Taylor taking the lead on the final meeting to try to lock the deal down.

In landing Adelman, the Timberwolves get a coach who has a history of playing the kind of free-flowing, up-tempo system that Kahn so desperately wants in Minnesota. Kahn clashed with Rambis over the direction of the offense.

Adelman led the Blazers to the NBA finals in 1990 and 1992, and in his 18 full seasons as a head coach he has presided over a team with a losing record just twice.

In Minnesota, Adelman inherits a promising roster that includes Love, No. 2 pick Derrick Williams and Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio.

Adelman has a long history with Love, which may have played a role in accepting a position with a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004.

Love played on the same Oregon high school team as Adelman’s son, and the two got to know each other while Adelman attended the games. The versatile forward is one of the league’s best rebounders. He also has 3-point range and seems to be an ideal fit for Adelman’s offense.

The Timberwolves also have an intriguing, if unproven, young cast around Love, including Williams, Wes Johnson and Michael Beasley. One of Adelman’s biggest tasks will be to help Rubio, the fifth overall pick in 2009, acclimate himself to the NBA game.

Rubio decided to spend the previous two years playing in Spain rather than exercise an enormous buyout to play in the NBA right away, and his progression seems to have slowed. Now he will learn the game from one of the league’s top offensive minds.

The Timberwolves will also need to add a veteran or two to help Adelman show the young pups how to be professionals, but locking down a replacement for Rambis was the first step.

Ultimately, Taylor had to make the decision to pay Adelman what he wanted while also having to pay Rambis the final two years and $4 million left on his contract.


Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/APkrawczynski

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