Flip Saunders says Timberwolves expect Rick Adelman to return

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Rick Adelman is likely to return as Wolves coach.   (USATSI)
Rick Adelman is likely to return as Timberwolves coach. (USATSI)

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has been on the fence about returning to the sideline next season while doctors evaluate the health of his wife. Adelman missed several weeks to be with his wife, Mary Kay, as she suffered a series of seizures.

But on Monday, NBA.com spoke with new Wolves president Flip Saunders, who confirmed that he expects Adelman back next season:

“We've talked every day, every other day,” Saunders said during a break at the adidas Eurocamp. “He talks about his staff, he talks about players. We were talking the other day about offenses that I ran, offenses that he ran. Talking just the basketball talk. The talks that we've had leads me to believe that he's going to be back.

“My assumption is just like when I coached. No one really asked me if I was coming back or not. You're under contract. You're part of expectations…. And if something changes, then we'll change as it does. That's part of what the NBA is all about. Adapting to changes. But I believe he's going to be back. Mary Kay has made some progress, so that's the positive. I hope he's back because I know if he's back that means that she's making good progress and getting back on good health. That's what all our hopes are for.”

The Wolves have several big decisions to make this summer about their roster with regards to free agents and the like, but everything hinges on Adelman. It's getting late in the game to start interviewing for a new coach, and there is positively no way they would get an upgrade over Adelman, a Hall of Fame-worthy coach who has helped build a great Wolves roster that only failed last season due to injuries.

If Adelman does in fact return, and the Wolves don't have the insane number of injuries they dealt with last season, there's every reason to believe they can contend for a playoff spot in the West next season. But all of that is secondary to the health of Mary Kay Adelman, and Adelman is doing the right thing by taking his time to make the best decision for his family.

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