To say this offseason has been a busy one for the Timberwolves would be a bit of an understatement. However, it hasn’t just been the roster and the guys that will taking to the Target Center floor in a few weeks. The Pups front office and coaching staff has also seen a bevy of changes take place, all starting with the firing of David Kahn and the hiring (and return) of Flip Saunders as the team’s new President of Basketball Operations.
Since the return of Flip, the news hasn’t really slowed down. Days after being hired in May, Flip fired Pete Philo, the Wolves international scouting coordinator, along with Curtis Crawford and Will Conroy. Conroy, of course, was Brandon Roy’s best friend that David Kahn gave a contract to prior to last season. Crawford was an actual scout for the team.
Opinion: Given the lack of overall success in the franchise’s draft history and ability to find many hidden gems overseas, this was a good starting point for the team. Hopefully, Glen Taylor and Flip use the appropriate amount of resources to maximize the potential of hitting a home run in the future through the appropriate scouting channels.
In July, the Pups probably saw their biggest loss to date this offseason, when Bill Bayno decided to leave the coaching staff to become the right hand man for Dwane Casey in Toronto.
Opinion: Bayno seemed to have a real strong rapport with the roster the past two years and was always well regarded by others online and in the media. While it is being reported that this had nothing to do with money, I wish the Wolves would have countered with … something. I would feel much better with Bill Bayno waiting behind Rick Adelman (more on this in a bit) vs. Terry Porter and others.
A little over one week ago, Flip Saunders named Milt Newton the new General Manager of the Timberwolves. Milt and Flip were together in Washington and seem to have a mutual respect for one another. By most, if not all accords, the hiring of Milt puts another voice in the room for personnel decisions, but he will not have the final say on those decisions, as that will remain with Flip.
Opinion: This announcement had been rumored for weeks and I have to say that I’m a little skeptical. There continues to be this overriding theme of staying in your respective comfort zone when Glen Taylor and Flip are doing the hiring. It isn’t like the Wizards were the gold (or bronze) standard of the NBA during Milt’s tenure. All of that said, this tweet from Jon Krawczynski pretty much says it all:
Was impressed with how Milt Newton carried himself today. Many say Wiz ignored his suggestions and made mistakes. Wolves better hope so
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) September 10, 2013
With Bayno gone, the coaching staff needed to be tinkered with and earlier this week, the Wolves made several expected moves official, naming David Adelman as an Assistant Coach and hiring Bobby Jackson as Player Development Coach. The latter signaled the end of Shawn Respert’s tenure with the Pups in the same position.
Opinion: The official hiring of the younger Adelman wasn’t a surprise to anyone. In fact, it makes me feel a lot better about the return of his father (still a few minutes away, patience please) to the sidelines. David coached the Wolves Summer League team in Las Vegas. I’m a little surprised about the shift from Shawn Respert to Bobby Jackson and have a real hard time believing this isn’t part of the aforementioned “comfort zone”. Respert seemed to be well respected in the locker room and by the local media. Jackson, of course, is a former Golden Gopher icon and PG for the Pups.
As hinted at several times above, there is one name missing from the official newswire and he is the most important part: Coach Rick Adelman. While everyone assumes he will be back to lead the Wolves next season, I’m just a little anxious that it hasn’t been made official. Adelman truly is the glue to this franchise right now. Look at the free agent signings, they all have Adelman’s fingerprints on them. Look at the attempt to repair the relationship with Kevin Love. Same overarching thought. This team needs Rick Adelman on the sidelines to maximize its potential this coming season.
Here’s to hoping that announcement comes soon. Like, today or tomorrow. Let’s go Wolves!