The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed Rick Adelman to be the 10th head coach in franchise history. Adelman ranks eighth all-time in NBA coaching wins with a 945-616 (.605 winning percentage) career record in 20 seasons as a head coach. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“After a thorough search and interview process, we’re pleased to be bringing a coach of Rick Adelman’s stature on board to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Rick has proven time and again that he is one of the top coaches in basketball — one of the top coaches in the history of our sport. We are excited to have him as the leader of our young and talented team.”
“From the start of the hiring process David (Kahn) identified Rick as the best man for the job,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “Rick has a proven track record of success in the NBA and we are pleased that he is our new head coach.”
Adelman, 65, has previously served as head coach of four NBA teams: Portland (1988-94), Golden State (1995-97), Sacramento (1998-2006) and Houston (2007-11). Some of his coaching highlights include: two NBA Finals appearances (1990 and 1992 with Portland), four Western Conference Finals (1989-90, 1990-91 and 1991-92 with Portland and 2001-02 with Sacramento) and four division titles (1990-91 and 1991-92 with Portland; 2001-02 and 2002-03 with Sacramento).
“I’m eager to start another chapter in my coaching career with the Minnesota Timberwolves,” Adelman said. “We have a good nucleus of young players that I feel can grow together and win. I’m looking forward to the challenge of building a playoff team here in Minnesota.”
Adelman’s teams have reached the NBA playoffs in 16 of his 20 seasons as a head coach, and he holds an all-time playoff record of 79-78 (.503 winning percentage). He is one of only five head coaches in NBA history to win 60+ games in a season with two different teams (Portland and Sacramento). Adelman has been runner-up for the NBA Coach of the Year award four times. Most recently, Adelman was the head coach of the Houston Rockets the past four seasons, leading Houston to a 193-135 record. His .588 winning percentage was the highest in franchise history.
Adelman’s trademark offenses have finished among the top five in the NBA in scoring on 13 occasions over his head coaching career. He has had four additional teams rank in the top 10 in points per game. His teams have also shown a great balance on the defensive end of the floor. Adelman has had seven squads finish in the top five in scoring defense. Adelman, who will report to Kahn, will announce his Timberwolves coaching staff at a later date.
Adelman began his coaching career at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, where his teams amassed a 141-39 record over six seasons (1977-83). Chemeketa won or shared in three Oregon community college championships and one regional title.
As a player, Adelman spent seven seasons in the NBA with the San Diego Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Jazz and Kansas City-Omaha Kings. Selected by the Rockets in the seventh round (79th overall) of the 1968 NBA Draft, the 6-2 guard averaged 6.7 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in two seasons as a reserve in San Diego. Adelman was taken by Portland in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft and was made the first team captain in Trail Blazers history. Traded by the Trail Blazers to the Bulls prior to the 1973-74 campaign, Adelman was again dealt to the Jazz early in the 1974-75 season. Looking for veteran leadership in their run to the 1975 NBA Playoffs, the Kings made a late-season acquisition to obtain Adelman. He retired in 1975 with career averages of 7.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 462 regular season games.
Adelman began his playing career at St. Pius X High School in Downey, California, before attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he was named MVP of the West Coast Athletic Conference as a senior in 1967-68.