infamous for a recruiting scandal, the Minnesota Timberwolves have confirmed reports that they have fired head coach Kurt Rambis.
It was originally rumored that Rambis would be fired after last month’s draft concluded. But over the past three weeks a move was never made.
After a three month debacle by Timberwolves General Manager David Kahn, it is now official that Rambis is out as head coach of the Timberwolves.
While a firing seemed imminent– Rambis was 32-132 in his two years as Timbewolves head coach– Kahn danced around reports that a change of head coach was in order as if he was auditioning for season 13 of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars.
Two names that have floated around to replace Rambis were Timberwolves assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff and former Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson.
Bickerstaff seemed like a logical option as a future head coach of the Wolves down the road. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher guard, and longtime assistant in the NBA, has all the makings of an NBA coach, but lacks vital experience at this point of his coaching career.
Sampson became a household name during his tenure as Oklahoma Sooners head coach. But just as quickly he became infamous for a recruiting scandal while head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers.
Ironically, news of Rambis’ official firing coincided with the news that both Sampson and Bickerstaff were heading south to join a familiar face with the Houston Rockets.
According to reports, Sampson has reached an agreement in principle to become Kevin McHale’s lead assistant in his new endeavor as head coach of the Rockets.
Bickerstaff– who’s contract ran out in Minnesota on July 1st– According to the
On paper this seems like the ultimate “eff you” from McHale to Kahn. While it most certainly could be, I’m going to side with the idea McHale viewed Sampson and Bickerstaff as great fits as his assistants and the unintentional “eff you” was a tree of cherries on top of the cake.
While it appears that Bickerstaff will be on his way to Houston any day, there is still an outside possibility that he returns to Minnesota.
But not as the head coach.
“The Wolves late last week asked for permission to speak with Trail Blazers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff, the Oregonian newspaper in Portland reported Monday.”
Bernie Bickerstaff is of course J.B.’s father, and four-time NBA head coach and two-time General Manager and President. If in fact Bernie does get the job, look for him to try and lure J.B. to his staff in Minnesota.
One name that makes some sense to replace Rambis is Sam Mitchell. The former Timberwolves forward and former head coach of the Toronto Raptors could be a name Kahn looks to in the weeks to come. Mitchell was 2006-07 NBA Coach of the Year with the Raptors.
Another name is former Sacramento Kings and former Houston Rockets’ head coach Rick Adelman.
Per usual with Kahn, speculation about a future coach will most likely go on for many weeks to come. But one thing can be taken from today, the fact that we can add “former Timberwolves head coach” in front of Kurt Rambis’ name is a good thing.
That I am sure of.
Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as beat writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves. You can follow Brett on Twitter @brettcloutier.