Nearly three months after the completion of the regular season, the “Pioneer Press” has reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves dismissed head coach Kurt Rambis on Tuesday, two years into the four-year contract that the club signed him to. Rumors of Rambis getting canned had circulated for months, and there was a report that the club would fire him immediately after the NBA Draft took place on June 23.
Minnesota Team President David Kahn released a statement from the club, expressing his sentiments on the dismissal of Rambis. Kahn said “It is always hard to make these decisions. It is especially hard when it involves somebody of Kurt’s reputation. Even so, this is the right time for us to make a head coaching change now that we’ve identified our roster and its specific needs. I want to thank Kurt for his contributions to our franchise and wish him the best in his future endeavors. His arrival signaled we were serious about building a championship-contending ballclub over the course of time. We have accumulated a solid nucleus of young talent with a bright future during the last two years. I am hopeful Kurt receives his share of the credit for helping develop that talent and his contributions are not forgotten as we become a better basketball team.”
Rambis took the high road in the statement he released after being informed of his dismissal. The former coach said “I am grateful for the opportunity that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has given me. During my years working with coaches Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Cotton Fitzsimmons, I learned all about the ups and downs of this sport. Today is one of the down days. But I am confident that my work, and the work of my staff with our many young players over the last two years, will begin to pay off for Mr. Taylor and Timberwolves fans. Now, as important new players are added to the mix, the future of this franchise should be a bright one. I am thankful for the chance I had to play in shaping that future.”
The team did not do well during Rambis’ stint as bench boss, ending this past season in last place in the Association with a record of 17-65, and going 32-132 during his two years as head coach. The timing of the firing most likely means Rambis will not be on an NBA staff for the upcoming season. The team still reportedly owes the former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach $4 million for the two years left on his contract. Former NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, is said to be a leading candidate to become the new T-Wolves head coach.