Rick Adelman to announce retirement

Rick Adelman

MINNEAPOLIS -- Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has decided to retire after 23 seasons, ESPN has confirmed.

Adelman is expected to announce his decision Monday. 

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported in March that Minnesota would have Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg -- a former Wolves player and executive -- and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo (who's close to president Flip Saunders) high on their list of potential successors.

The possibility also remains that Saunders, who is the last coach to take the Wolves to the playoffs way back in 2004, will add coaching to his executive duties. After stints coaching in Detroit and Washington, Saunders returned to the Wolves' organization last May as president of basketball operations and minority owner.

Adelman's decision brings to an end to a celebrated coaching career that includes 1,042 victories, 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 just completed the third season of a four-year deal with Minnesota that he signed 2011. There was a mutual option for the final year of the deal.

After missing the playoffs for the third straight season, and with a wife who is being treated for seizure disorders, Adelman decided it was time to walk away from one of the most quietly influential coaching careers in NBA history.

The introverted coach never received his just due while working below the radar for most of his career, but his impact on the league as an offensive innovator is unquestioned.

"I think every coach in this league has taken some of his concepts," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You can see every team has part of his corner series as part of their offense."

Adelman won at least 50 games in a season 11 times in his career, helped to turn around the Trail Blazers in the late 1980s and then built a power in Sacramento 10 years later. He had more modest success with Houston and Minnesota, but walks away with his fingerprints all over the league.

"He's been what I call a lifer," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's been in several different programs, made them all better, done a heck of a job wherever he's gone, has always been underrated and has been a guy that players have really enjoyed playing for. That's who he is."

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.

"A lot of people have run the elbow action, but no one's run it like him," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "He started doing it in Portland and then in Sac, everywhere he's gone he's won for the most part. He's one of the better coaches that we've ever had in the league and a lot of people don't realize that. And I think that's too bad. But he's been good for the game. He's brought a lot to the game."

"I've stolen from him, very honestly," Popovich said.

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