Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor did a long interview with Ray Richardson that appeared in the Pioneer Press on Sunday. There’s a lot there, and it’s worth reading in full: Taylor talks about the status of Rick Adelman and David Kahn for next season, as well as how the Brandon Roy debacle has played out.
Yet much of the interview is cryptic, leaving one to read between the lines for meaningful subtext. My takes are below the fold.
Rick Adelman’s Future With The Wolves
When asked how he will handle Adelman’s situation given that he has indicated he might retire if his wife continues to suffer seizures, Taylor responded that he’ll give Adelman the time and support he needs until he’s ready to make a decision. For his part, Adelman has indicated he will make a decision in the coming weeks, not months–he has no intentions to drag the process out.
What does this mean? I suspect it means Adelman already knows what he’s going to do do. He can’t know what his wife’s health will be like in three months, which means this isn’t a wait-and-see situation. He’ll either be back or he won’t. It likely depends not only on his wife’s health, but also on how much he still enjoys coaching, what he thinks of the team and its prospects, how much he wants to keep collecting his nice paycheck.
If I had to bet, I’d bet Adelman won’t be back. It isn’t clear that he particularly likes this squad, its future, or coaching in general. However, as we all know, no one – including Adelman – has seen a fair sample because of all the injuries.
Most important might be Kevin Love. I really wonder what Adelman’s current relationship with Love is like. Despite all of the fanfare about their relationship back in Oregon, when Love was a prep, the connection between K-Love and Adelman has never seemed particularly strong or affectionate–nothing like the bond between Love and Kevin McHale. Instead, the last two years have seen Love constantly testing the limits of what he could do–shooting and scoring at will, for example–and also what he could get away with–including bashing the front office in on-the-record interviews, coming into this season out of shape, and after coming into 2012-13 out of shape, sitting out most all of the season with a string of questionable injuries. Love is ending his 5th season, and has never come close to sniffing the playoffs–hell, this is the first season in which a team he’s been a part of has won thirty games. Thirty. And he barely played this season. Has there ever been another top-10 player who, through five seasons, hasn’t led a team to more than 30 wins? And is a Hall of Fame coach, in the twilight of his career, who obviously wants to win now, interested in the prospects of coaching another season for a team led by a petulant, immature loose-cannon who has shown no signs of maturation as a leader, or a willingness to sacrifice his personal agenda for the good of the team? It’s an open question. The Wolves might make the playoffs next season, but without a significant personnel upgrade they have next to no chance of making the Western Conference Finals. Is that enough for Adelman? I don’t know.
Who Would Replace Adelman?
Richardson next asked if Taylor has a contingency plan in place in case Adelman leaves. “Not yet,” said Taylor.
That could suggest a few things: 1) extreme confidence Adelman is coming back; 2) extreme negligence to plan for important contingencies; or 3) that Taylor has a successor in mind but isn’t saying. Unfortunately, there’s really no way of knowing which. Taylor’s keeping this close-hold, and none of the three is implausible.
One thing we do know: if there is a successor, it will not be Terry Porter. Porter proved himself a miserably overmatched replacement for Adelman during Adelman’s leave of absence.
Taylor was polite in dismissing Porter as a future head coaching candidate, saying “If Rick were to leave, I would want to think about all options we have available to us. My thought process right now would be to not look at just one person.”
My interpretation of what Taylor was really saying is, “We’ve looked at *that* one person and didn’t like what we saw. At all.” Good on Glen, that’s what I say.
David Kahn’s Future With The Wolves
Taylor was surprisingly non-committal about Kahn, especially after reports several weeks ago that a deal to bring back Kahn for another season was already in place. This might still be true, but if it is, Taylor did nothing to acknowledge it.
What he did say is, “I want to find out about my coach first” (before doing anything with Kahn). This is consistent with my earlier take, which was that if Adelman comes back and wants full personnel control, i.e., a lame-duck GM, then Kahn probably stays. If Adelman goes, the Wolves probably clean house, fire Kahn, and start from scratch. Which would truly be a sight to see. (Flip Saunders, if you’re reading this, stay close to your phone.)
The Brandon Roy Debacle
Taylor accepted some of the blame for signing Roy, who has not played a game since NOV 9: “We did take a risk, and it was proven to be a wrong risk. There were other players out there with some experience who we could have gotten, who would have helped us at a position (shooting guard) where we needed help. We’re out of the money this year (approximately $5 million), but based on the contract we have, we don’t have to pay him next year (emphasis mine) if he doesn’t play.”
But that’s not all Taylor had to say about Roy. The most interesting part of the interview, to me, was the seeming visceral loathing Taylor feels toward Roy, the kind of spite one can only feel when one has been lied to and cheated. Since this is purely my reading of the interview, I’ll include the question and Taylor quote in full:
PP: Did you ever get the sense that Roy would return to the lineup?
GT: He sure sounded like a guy who thought he could do it. You trust his word. When I talked to him in December, he was under the assumption he would be back in a couple of weeks (after Nov. 19 surgery on his right knee), and he was telling other people the same things. I talked to him a month ago and I could tell he had given up, that he wasn’t going to try a comeback. He seemed very mature. I thought he would bring a lot of leadership to our team, but it was tough for him to do that when he wasn’t playing. We hardly got to see him (emphasis mine).
Could an owner sound more disappointed in someone he expected so much of? Again, lied to, and cheated.
Somewhere, Neil Olshey is laughing.