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Friday, July 22, 2011
Report: Wolves talk to Bernie Bickerstaff

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Portland assistant Bernie Bickerstaff interviewed with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday and former Houston coach Rick Adelman was scheduled to come in Saturday as the team searches for a new coach.

A person with knowledge of the process told The Associated Press on Friday about the interviews. The person requested anonymity because the team is not commenting publicly on its coaching search.

Bickerstaff is 415-517 in just over 13 seasons as a head coach. He is the father of former Timberwolves assistant J.B. Bickerstaff, who agreed to take a job as an assistant in Houston earlier this month. But J.B. is highly thought of in the Timberwolves organization, and some view him as head coach material in the not-too-distant future.

To that end, one of the scenarios that Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn is considering is hiring Bernie Bickerstaff, who has head coaching experience in Charlotte, Denver, Washington and Seattle, to serve as a tutor for a year or two before handing things over to his son for the long haul.

The Timberwolves have also interviewed Terry Porter and Mike Woodson and could bring in Don Nelson soon as well.

The news of Adelman's interest in the position comes as somewhat of a surprise, with some league observers believing the 66-year-old preferred to land with a team that had more veteran leadership. The Timberwolves are the youngest team in the league, and their lack of a veteran leader or two to stabilize the locker room was one of the biggest reasons they finished with a league-worst 17-65 record last season.

But from a pure talent standpoint, there is plenty to be intrigued about, especially for a coach who runs the kind of wide-open, share-the-ball system that Adelman ran so well in Portland and Sacramento.

The Timberwolves have a pass-first point guard in Ricky Rubio, one of the best passing big men in the game in Kevin Love and some dynamic, if unproven, scorers in Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams.

Adelman is 945-616 (.605) in 20 seasons as a head coach of the Trail Blazers, Kings, Warriors and Rockets. He has coached 19 full seasons, leading the Blazers to the NBA finals in 1990 and 1992. He coached the Warriors to back-to-back losing seasons in 1995-96 and '96-97, the only times he has coached a full season and had a team finish with a losing record.

Adelman and the Rockets parted ways in April, with Houston hiring former Wolves executive and coach Kevin McHale to take over.