Glen Taylor told Sports Headliners on Monday he might change his intent to find a majority buyer for his Timberwolves. He also said the future of his team for next season starts with coach Rick Adelman who he believes will decide to stay with the franchise.
Taylor, the club’s majority owner since the mid-1990s, has been shopping the team for awhile because at 71 years old he thought that might be a good idea if he encountered health problems. While Taylor has identified potential out of town buyers, he hasn’t found one from Minnesota and he wants the Wolves to continue to play in Minneapolis.
“I don’t have a deal (to sell),” said Taylor who turns 72 tomorrow. “I may go back to what I originally started out with. Go out and look for some minority interests. I would look for people who do live in the state to replace some of the people that have been my partners in the past. … So I may just change my tactic next summer and go back to talking to some of those people — that maybe their interest isn’t to run the club — but they would like to be a partner in it.”
Former UnitedHealth executive Bill McGuire is the new owner of the Minnesota United FC soccer team. McGuire was a high school basketball player and is a Wolves season ticket holder. He has the financial resources to become the Wolves’ majority owner, keeping a Minnesotan in charge of the franchise.
Taylor said McGuire hasn’t expressed interest in buying him out but could be on a list of potential minority investors. “He’s the type of person I would ask. He’s a friend and I respect him. He’s a good business guy, and he’s got an interest in the Timberwolves.”
Crushed by injuries, the Timberwolves end their regular season tonight at San Antonio. The team’s hard luck year included the absence of Adelman who left the team for 11 games to support his wife Mary Kay. She suffers from seizures and Adelman’s coaching future is uncertain.
Taylor said Adelman is waiting for medical consultation on his wife and that information could come in the next 30 days. “We’re hoping so, yes,” Taylor said.
Adelman, 66, is among the NBA’s most admired coaches and it’s believed if necessary he will retire to spend more time with his wife. Although Taylor has a president of basketball operations (David Kahn) with an expiring contract and challenges with player personnel, it is the coach and his availability for next season that is priority No. 1. He described Adelman as “the key” to the immediate future.
“I think right now the No. 1 decision for me is Rick,” Taylor said. “I just think with his experience and his relationships with these players and this team, that’s such a critical part of our plan. And whatever he decides could affect some of the other decisions.”
Kahn’s contract expires May 27. Taylor said all the injuries this season make it difficult to evaluate whether to retain Kahn, and the Wolves’ owner wouldn’t say whether he will announce a decision prior to late May.
Flip Saunders began his Timberwolves’ career as the team’s general manager and then was quickly given the coaching job. Would Taylor consider Saunders for either the coaching or general manager positions?
“I just think that I should just not answer that question but first find out what Rick’s decision is going to be,” Taylor said. “I just think that’s way premature to say what I might do because at this point I believe Rick is going to stay. He hasn’t said that but that’s my belief.”
Taylor said he recalled in 2005 then general manager Kevin McHale fired Saunders because McHale thought a change was needed. The Wolves were losing games and Taylor was told by McHale the players-coach relationship wasn’t what it should be. But later Taylor didn’t hesitate to recommend Saunders for another head coaching job in the NBA. Saunders is now involved with NBA commentary for ESPN but he and Taylor are friends.
Raising Taylor’s optimism for next season are conversations he’s had with his two star players, power forward Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio. Love played in only 18 games this season because of injuries and Rubio missed early games recovering from the torn ACL that sidelined him a year ago March.
The two players have informed Taylor about their summer plans to prepare for the 2013-14 season, describing not only what they intend to do but also the names of people who will assist them. Love and Rubio also told Taylor they welcome having a Wolves’ assistant coach monitor their work. “To me, it speaks of confidence,” Taylor said.
A decision regarding the site for the NHL’s Winter Classic in 2015 could be announced next month, according to a knowledgeable pro hockey source. He said it’s not known when the league will make its choice but the Wild is pushing for 2015.
Both TCF Bank Stadium and Target Field are under consideration for the outdoor game annually played on New Year’s Day. The Twins want the game, and they and the Wild can use the attraction to reward season ticket holders who will receive priority seating.
The NHL likes to involve teams who have North American appeal and the Wild have attractive players in Niklas Backstrom, Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and Ryan Suter, but the franchise has yet to establish itself as a postseason winner. “If they make the playoffs (this spring) they have an outstanding chance of getting the game (for 2015),” the source said.
The 2014 Winter Classic will be hosted by the Red Wings and played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
The Wild are ranked No. 15 among 30 teams in the latest ESPN.com NHL power rankings.
Sports Illustrated looks clairvoyant regarding Twins’ rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks who has only two hits in 45 at bats this season. In its April 1 baseball issue the magazine said Hicks’ .370 batting average and four home runs in spring training were misleading, pointing out that most of his success came against “fringe” major league and minor league pitching. S.I. said the four home runs came with an “asterisk,” pointing out three were wind-aided.
Meanwhile, the Twins’ two regular center fielders from last season are having mixed results. Denard Span is hitting .313 with two stolen bases in 13 games for the Nationals. Ben Revere, now with the Phillies, is hitting .207 with five stolen bases in 14 games but he made headlines with an extraordinary catch earlier this week.
The Twins (6-7) have a two-game winning streak after defeating the Angels last night, 8-6. The Angels (4-10) are tied for the worst start in franchise history, matching the 1961 season when the club was in its first season ever.
The Gophers had their 10th spring practice yesterday and all sessions have been indoors. Rather than risk pulled muscles or other cold weather induced problems, the Gophers have stayed inside where they can also better focus on execution.
Happy birthday to former Gophers’ basketball coach Jim Dutcher who turns 80 today.
G.G. Smith, Tubby Smith’s son who had been an assistant men’s basketball coach at Loyola University Maryland, was promoted last week to the head job there. Does that mean Tubby’s son Saul Smith, who was an assistant at Minnesota, will be added to the Texas Tech staff where his dad now coaches?Comments Welcome