NBA AM: Looking Good For Rick Adelman
Minnesota And Adelman: The Minnesota Timberwolves may have nabbed their man. Sources close to the situation say their face to face meeting with Rick Adelman went well and that both sides have been exchanging contract proposals to try and understand what it would take to make a deal. No decision has been reached yet, however it does look like Adelman is the leader in the clubhouse.
There have been several reports that Adelman has started contacting would-be assistant coaches, which is common even if a coach is not hired, simply because assembling an assistant coaching staff is the first step once a deal is made, and most coaches want a sense of what their staff would look like before committing to a team.
The fact that Adelman is reaching out only means one thing, he is interested in the job. It also signals that he has enough indications that he could land the job to start calling friends and colleagues.
Rumor has it that Adelman is seeking a deal in the $5 million per season range which is very high in the current coaching climate, but if Wolves owner Glen Taylor will meet the price, the Wolves would be getting a massive upgrade at coaching and their most credible coach in franchise history.
The Wolves in their 22 year history has had nine head coaches, with Bill Musselman being the franchise’s first head coach. Washington head coach Flip Saunders was the longest tenured coach, coaching more than 700 games for the Timberwolves. Saunders is also the only coach to have ever coached the Timberwolves in the playoffs.
Since Saunders was fired in 2005, the Wolves have had a new coach virtually every other season.
Rick Adelman has coached more than 20 seasons in the NBA and has coached 1561 games and a has a career 60.5% win percentage. Adelman has also coached 157 playoff games.
The Wolves continue to say there is no timeline in place for naming their next head coach, although sources say they are coming down the stretch and peg Adelman as the favorite to land the job assuming they can reach terms on a contract.
Monday’s Labor Meeting: By now you have likely heard that the NBA and its’ Players will be meeting face to face in New York on Monday to try and re-start what’s been a rocky series of negotiations since the NBA locked out its Players on July 1st.
Both sides have pumped their chests recently and there has been enough commentary in the media to build a small house with, so while this might be just one more for the pile, the truth is Monday’s meeting will really be the sign of what’s to come.
The Players in recent days have taken to the media to make it clear that the owner’s latest proposal, which includes what the players are calling a wage freeze is unacceptable, and that the gap between offers stands at over $7 billion according to the Players math.
The NBA is saying it need to remove some $300 to $350 million from its player expense and is willing to get there through an 8% rollback of existing deals a reduction in the total annual compensation to the players, through a massive reduction in the Players share of the revenue under the guise of “growing their way out of their problem”.
The NBA has released a full slate of scheduled pre-season games, and teams are optimistically putting pieces in place in the event of a compromised deal.
It’s been said that if progress toward a deal has not started by Labor Day (September 5th), that the planned opening of NBA training camps set for the first week of October would be in jeopardy simply because so much business has to be completed.
League sources have hinted that September 15th is the absolute last day to reach a deal before training camps are in real jeopardy, so we are now down to roughly 20 days to reach a deal.
League sources have said if even one pre-season game is missed, the terms of the owners deal will change dramatically and that if the a single regular season game is missed the likelihood of a deal in 2011 becomes remote.
When the NBA and its Players reached a deal in 1999 to end their labor dispute, the deal was reached on January 6th. The finalized agreement was not ratified by both sides until January 20th, and the abbreviated regular season did not begin until February 5th.
So even in the direst of situations like the 1998-1999 lockout, it took the NBA almost 30 days to get back to work, mainly because so much infrastructure was shut down.
There is a belief with teams still at full staffing levels and planned games and events already scheduled, ramping up a deal could happen faster, but it starts to get dicey if things are not moving over the next week.
So while a deal on Monday is highly unlikely, the tone of that meeting should set the table for what’s to come.
If either side barges out of the meeting on Monday or the tone in the room does not change, you can scratch October off the schedule and the Players can cross a few hundred million off their deal.
A Little Salt In The Wound: The Chicago Bulls were the best team in the Eastern Conference last season record-wise, and have arguably one of the best young cores in the East.
Most would say the Bulls are a shooting guard away from being a perennial Conference Finals team, and that one guy that could have cemented that role is the fish that got away, HEAT guard Dwyane Wade.
“They met us in the Eastern Conference finals, and they were one player away from making it a very, very, very tough series,” Wade told ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell. “Derrick Rose is evolving into a phenomenal player. You could look and see they’re one player away from being there every year.”
Wade was one of the Bulls’ free agent targets, and while the Chicago native opted to stay in Miami and bring some of his friends in Chris Bosh and LeBron James to South Beach for the ride, Wade knows the Bulls need to get Derrick Rose some help on the perimeter.
“It would have to be a player that can take the pressure off him from making every play,” Wade said. “As a point guard, when you have to score so much, and have to make every big shot, and have to make all the passes, eventually it takes a toll on you throughout the season, no matter how phenomenal you are.
“So just someone who can come in and take some of that pressure away. That’s why I was excited not only to play with my friend but excited to play with a guy like LeBron, because it takes some of that pressure away from having to do it year after year after year. It saves you, your body.”
As if being the answer to the Bulls’ problem wasn’t bad enough, Wade revealed he did give Chicago a long hard look.
“I was very serious about wanting to play in Chicago,” Wade said. “I visualized myself being alongside Derrick Rose many times and Joakim Noah and all those guys many times.
“It didn’t happen, but you never know what the outcome would be. Obviously they did a great job.”
The Bulls have nine players with fully guaranteed contracts next season, not including unsigned rookies, and a projected salary commitment for next season valued at just over $64.4 million. The Bulls have non-guaranteed deals with Jannero Pargo, John Lucas III and Keith Bogans.
Shooting guard is clearly the most pressing need for the Bulls to address when the NBA lockout is lifted, the problem is at $64 million in cap commits they will need to trade to obtain a good one, and Dwyane Wade is clearly off the market.
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