The Timberwolves went 2-9 in Rick Adelman's absence earlier this season. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Rob Mahoney
Rick Adelman is an outstanding NBA head coach, and works for a team that needs his insight to spur its game planning and player development alike. Better yet: The players on the Wolves' roster make for qualified agents of Adelman's basketball philosophy, as this collection of cutters and playmakers would -- if healthy -- enact a beautiful rendition of his fluid offensive system. Injuries throughout the roster derailed that possibility this season, but going forward this roster is still a terrific medium for a great basketball mind.
If only it were so simple. This season has been a trying one for the Timberwolves' organization as a whole, but especially so for Adelman -- who has not only dealt with a slew of injuries to his most important players, but challenges away from the game, as his wife, Mary Kay Adelman, began suffering seizures. It was that harrowing off-the-court concern that forced Adelman to leave the team for several weeks earlier this season, and according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, it could well bring Adelman to step away from the game entirely:
Now, clearly worn down by difficult months on the personal front and a challenging season on the court as the Timberwolves drown in a flurry of injuries, [Adelman] admitted, “there’s a couple times I really struggled whether I should come back.” He later added: “I’m sure I’ll be thinking more about it as we move on here (through the season).”
The eighth-winningest coach in NBA history, and second among active coaches behind only Denver’s George Karl, said Mary Kay is “doing better” and “maintaining right now. She’s just on a lot of medicine. We’ll just have to wait and see. We go back to the doctor in April and see what they have to say.” When asked about the possibility of not returning in 2013-14, Adelman told NBA.com, “I think it’s something I’m just going to have to sit down with my wife and family and just talk about and see where we’re going with this. The most important thing is where we’re going with her health. Whatever happens will happen naturally.”
As unfortunate as it would be to see Adelman leave his position with the Wolves (or perhaps even retire as an NBA head coach), it would be a sensible course of action considering the reported seriousness of his wife's condition. The world of sports has a knack for muddling priorities, but Adelman's obligations in this case are quite clear and quite understandable -- to the point that no one could reasonably fault him for attending to his wife and his family during such a predicament. He'll have ample opportunity to weigh his options in the offseason, and it's entirely possible that the situation could change between now and then. But the possibility remains that Adelman may not be available to coach the Wolves next season, no matter how much he'd like to see this team execute up to its roster's potential.