The NBA is a league of stars, and as such an important if sometimes regrettable factor in choosing a head coach is how your team's best player will feel about it. The Minnesota Timberwolves have a clear-cut "best player": 2011 All-Star Kevin Love. Love got along well with Kevin McHale who finished out the 2009 season as coach in Minnesota, but didn't seem to have the best repertoire with his replacement Kurt Rambis. Rambis benched Love for fourth quarters early in the 2011 season, drawing the ire of the forward (and eventually looking terrible, once Love exploded in terms of production).
Will there be any problems with new Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman, who reportedly came to terms with the team on Monday? Probably not. Before Adelman's hire was confirmed, the All-Star talked to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Yes, if it's true Love said Adelman's presence would "absolutely" play a factor in whether he signs a contract extension with the team. "When I talked about the prospect of me re-signing, I always said one of the things we'd have to have is a great coach," he said. "If it's true, we've got a great coach."
Love has known Adelman since he was in junior-high school and he played high-school ball with Adelman's son Patrick.
Love is up for an extension to his rookie deal whenever the NBA lockout ends, provided that the new collective bargaining agreement doesn't change the way early extensions work. Love had previously indicated he may hold off on signing an extension, leaving open the opportunity to leave in free agency once his rookie deal ends. Players almost never do that unless the team isn't willing to offer a contract the player seeks; every superstar drafted since 2003 has signed a second contract with the team that picked them, though LeBron James made it vogue to sign a shorter second deal.
Adelman's acumen, history and the credibility he lends the lost-at-sea franchise are what got him hired. But his relationship with Love could end up being the most important factor here. Minnesota can't afford to lose the one star it has, and this looks like a strong step toward preventing that.