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Timberwolves' Rick Adelman retiring after 23 years

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm •  Published: April 21, 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As his 23rd season as an NBA coach entered the home stretch, Rick Adelman looked tired.

Tired of trying to wring a few more wins out of a talented, defensively deficient roster. Tired of getting on an airplane at midnight after a game and landing somewhere across the country at 3 a.m. Tired, most of all, of putting his wife Mary Kay and her lingering health issues second to a job that, when done right, is all-consuming.

So when he finally decided to step away, announcing his retirement from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, he did so with mixed feelings about the pressure-cooker life he is leaving behind and the one that awaits him.

"It becomes your life, your family's life, an everyday routine," Adelman said of the NBA. "It's a real grind. You get some time off in the summer but it's pretty much on your mind all the time, so there's some sadness but there's also a relief. I'm ready and my wife's ready to move on to another phase. We're looking forward to that."

Adelman and the Timberwolves had a mutual option in place in the four-year contract he signed in 2011. His announcement did not come as a surprise after the Wolves finished a disappointing 40-42, but it nevertheless marked an unceremonious end to a career that includes 1,042 victories, putting him eighth on the NBA's career list. He coached Western Conference powers in Portland and Sacramento and also had stops in Golden State and Houston.

Adelman said the time is right for him to step aside and spend more time with Mary Kay, who has been treated for seizures over the last two years. He also thinks the Wolves need a fresh voice to help them try to persuade star power forward Kevin Love to remain in Minnesota.

"If anything, I felt if I coached another year and then his future comes up and my future is gone, that makes it even harder," Adelman said. "I think it's best for the organization to have somebody else coaching the team, give them a year to see what they can do and hear that voice. I think that's a much more positive situation for the organization. I feel strongly about that."

After missing the playoffs for the third straight season, the 67-year-old Adelman decided it was time to walk away from one of the most quietly influential coaching careers in NBA history. The introverted coach worked below the radar for most of his career, but his impact on the league is unquestioned.

Adelman won at least 50 games in a season 11 times in his career, led the Portland Trail Blazers to two NBA Finals appearances and then developed a post-passing offense in Sacramento that continues to influence the league. He had more modest success with Houston and Minnesota, but walks away with his fingerprints all over the league.

While with the Kings, Adelman worked with assistant and former Princeton coach Pete Carril to fine-tune his famed "corner" offense, a precision system that maximized the talents of big men Chris Webber, Vlade Divac and Brad Miller, all of whom were gifted passers from the elbow of the lane.

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