The Rick Adelman era in Minnesota could come to an end when the season is over.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Adelman "has convinced more than a few folks in team circles that he's going to invoke his right to opt out of the final year ... and step away for good this summer." Adelman signed a four-year contract with the Wolves before the start of the 2011-12 season.
The Pioneer Press reports that the Timberwolves and Adelman each have a two-week window at the end of the season to opt out of the contract. The window would open following a season-ending game against the Utah Jazz on April 16. Were the Wolves to pull off a small miracle and make the playoffs, the window would extend until their final game.
Stein adds that if Adelman, 67, does walk away after the season, the two most common names to replace him are Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders and Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg, who used to play for the Wolves and work in the team's front office.
Widely regarded as the most NBA-ready college coach in the game, Hoiberg was a Wolves executive for four years before leaving the pros to coach the Cyclones. It should be noted that Saunders is close with Michigan State's Tom Izzo, as well, but the rumbles out of Sota are getting louder that the Wolves are going to court Hoiberg hard if they, as expected, have an opening.
Saunders has not shown any interest in returning to the bench, where he previously coached the Wolves to eight straight playoff appearances from 1996-2004.