There are reports coming out of Minneapolis that Kurt Rambis is getting strong consideration as the possible new head coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I’m an LA Clipper now, but given that I’ve known Kurt Rambis for over 9 years and given that I played for the Timberwolves, I can say that Rambis would be an unbelievable fit in Minnesota. Obviously there are other candidates as well, including Mark Jackson who would be a phenomenal selection too.
Rambis bring with him the coaching pedigree which includes playing for Pat Riley and coaching alongside Phil Jackson. I think that he would be able to meld the Pat Riley “culture” of strict discipline and crisp execution with the “read and react” philosophy of Phil Jackson who drills the Triangle every day in practice and then let’s the players govern themselves in some degree once the game starts.
The other intangible that Rambis would bring to the table is a scrappy style of play that would reflect his own playing days. I remember Kurt told me that one year when he was playing for the Lakers, some so-called experts were saying that the Lakers “could not win a championship with Kurt Rambis at the power forward.” He ended up proving them wrong and even scored close to 20 points in one of the championship games under the pressure of such a large stage. He has a great knowledge of playing the post position and would be that much more attuned to giving feedback to key players like Kevin Love and Al Jefferson.
I do think that Kurt would coach an up-tempo and hard-nosed style of play which would be well appreciated by the Minnesota Fans. I saw reports months ago that Rambis turned down the Sacramento King head coaching job due to a variety of factors. Kurt Rambis is a complete family man, and a man whose knowledge of the game is huge. If David Kahn names Kurt Rambis as the head coach, I think both the players and the fans are going to like the decision.
I wanted to take a minute to tell the fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves a heart felt thank you for all of the support and enthusiasm for the team over the past few years. Even though the past couple of years had been tough from a wins and losses perspective, when I will think of my time in Minneapolis, I will always think about that 2004 team that almost made it to the NBA Finals. At that time, Kevin Garnett was the MVP of the entire league, Sam Cassell was an All-Star and Latrell Sprewell was one of our emotional leaders. I remember during the playoff run that year how driving to and from games was absolutely crazy with part of downtown shut down so that cars could get through. This was all possible because of you, the fans and your amazing support.
From a different standpoint, Minneapolis has come to feel like an absolute second home for me personally. Having grown up in Northern California, I never really knew much about Minnesota until Kevin McHale and Glen Taylor signed me to play for the Timberwolves. Needless to say, the past several years have been some of the best years of my life and I am grateful for the opportunity, the support from the community and the fact that you truly made me feel at home in new place. Thank you for your friendship and for the giving me the chance to play for the team. When friends from out of town came to visit Minnesota I would always take them to the stone arch bridge downtown, the state Capital, or the Mill City Museum. Exploring new parts of the Twin Cities became one of my passions while I was there.
After I learned of my trade to the LA Clippers, David Kahn left me a voicemail and it was great. To you, the fans, David Kahn is going to do a great job as the General Manager. He is going to tirelessly do everything in his power to return the team to the same form of that special 2004 season. And to Glen Taylor, I express my thanks for allowing me to contribute to a great team. I’m sure that you will get the team back to the high expectations that you and the community have for the team. It has been an honor to play for the team over the past number of years and to be part of your organization.
But above all, I want to thank you the fans. I wish all of you the best and I hope that I will see you down the road and perhaps at a Timberwolves vs. LA Clippers game in the future!
We just beat the Denver Nuggets and it feels nice to have a little win streak going. (Winning two games in a row is a lot better than losing 8 out of 10!) After the game, me and my two roomates along with my other buddy and his girlfriend all went out to Champs in downtown Minneapolis to get a burger. It’s kind of fun going to Champs because half of the Minnesota timberwolves office personnel and ticket sales people usually go there after each game. It almost feels like the Timberwolves Holiday party in some ways because it seems like so many people from the organization are there. I even ran into a lot of the production/network support people who travel with us and broadcast all of the games on the local Television station here in the Twin cities. One of the directors of community relations was there with her sister and Dad. We all sat around and shot the breeze while we waited for our tables.
But most often after the games, I drive straight home and crash. It’s just too hard to be at the arena from 5:00pm till 10:00 pm and then be out till midnight eating a postgame meal. Tonight I got home a little after midnight and tommorrow my garage door repairman is coming at 8am. I need to make sure I don’t miss him because my garage door is broken! It’s a good thing that we have the day off tommorrow. Actually, the “young guys” have to come in and get a workout and get some extra shots. I’m so glad that I’m not in that “young guys” group anymore. It seemed like when I was in LA with the Lakers, Phil was always giving Shaq, Kobe, Rob, etc, the day off and me and Deaven George and the rest of the young guys had to come in and play a game of three on three where we ended up trying to absolutely destroy each other in a basketball sense. But, I’m grateful that Phil did it that way and I understood what he was trying to do–get us extra reps to improve. Coach Casey is doing the same thing. Who knows, if my garage door can get fixed quickly, then I might go in there and lift some weights or something.
When we were losing a lot of games a few weeks ago, Dwayne Casey stayed very positive. After we lost a tough home game last week, he came into the locker room and said, “You guys are giving me the effort and the intensity…..I promise you that things are going to shift and come back around…..” He emphasized that we need to cut down on turnovers in order to put ourselves in a position to win. One of Coach Casey’s lines that I really like is this: “If you mess with the game, the game will mess with you.” What he’s really saying here is that if you disrespect the game of basketball by not playing hard or by cutting corners, you’re not going to get too many breaks. Conversely, if you play hard all the time and really try to play the right way, you’re going to get your share of breaks and good bounces.
Well life in the NBA never slows down. We fly to NYC this weekend and then on to boston. I started reading a new book for fun. I’m not even sure about the title, but it’s something like, “The Rule of Four,” written by a bunch of students at Princeton about an ancient text. It’s a very entertaining book. A friend of mine gave it to me as a gift and it’s been a nice distraction to get my mind away from the game through the ups and downs.