MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kurt Rambis is getting closer to knowing about his coaching future.
A person familiar with the situation said Rambis and Timberwolves team president David Kahn will meet at length over the next two days to discuss whether Rambis will return for a third season in Minnesota. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the meeting.
Rambis is 32-132 in two seasons as Timberwolves coach. He has been in limbo the past two months, ever since Kahn declined to give him a vote of confidence in a season-ending press conference in April. He has two years left on the four-year contract he signed to leave Phil Jackson’s side with the Los Angeles Lakers and take over the struggling Timberwolves.
Kahn said at the time he did not want to make a rash decision after watching the Wolves lose the final 15 games of the season to finish a league-worst 17-65.
The situation dragging on, right into the heart of the team’s draft preparations, seemed to irk Rambis earlier this month, when he spoke to reporters for the first time since the season ended on April 13.
“Everybody has reasons for why they conduct the business in the way they want to conduct their business,” Rambis said on June 3. “If you’re asking me if that’s what I would do, no, that’s not how I would handle things. But everybody’s different.”
Rambis later appeared on a Los Angeles radio station and said he regretted those comments, and just wanted to return to the team and continue the rebuilding effort.
Kahn has declined comment throughout the summer.
Despite not knowing whether he would have a job next year, Rambis still showed up to several prospect workouts to watch, casting an awkward air over the sessions.
He was there on Thursday, sitting across the gym from Kahn while Turkish center Enes Kanter and Arizona forward Derrick Williams went through workouts with several prospects, including Colorado guard Alec Burks and Providence guard Marshon Brooks.
Rambis did not speak to reporters after either session.
Tired of waiting for Jackson to retire and possibly inherit the Lakers throne, Rambis left glitzy L.A. in 2009 to become Kahn’s first hire as president of basketball operations in Minnesota. Together, they vowed to get the Timberwolves back to the playoffs, but also preached to fans that it would take time to complete the massive rebuilding project.
That patience has proved to be fleeting.
Rambis won just 15 games his first season on the job, coaching a group of castoffs and retreads that were assembled more to put the team in a better financial situation than to compete on the court in the present.
The second season was supposed to be significantly better, with the front office adding Michael Beasley, Anthony Tolliver and Nikola Pekovic and drafting Wes Johnson. But it was still the youngest team in the league, and the group was slow to adapt to Rambis’s complex offensive and defensive sets.
“I felt the team was playing well and I felt the team was improving,” Kahn said on April 13. “And I felt we had some players that were improving dramatically individually. And then for whatever reason, tracing back to the week before the All-Star break and the week after the All-Star break, it just stopped. And I don’t know why.”
Rambis said all season long that he felt the team was making progress and that he was looking forward to continuing to mold the young team into a contending unit.
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