Skip to content

Report: Timberwolves fire Kurt Rambis

Jun 22, 2011, 9:06 PM EDT

Kurt Rambis AP

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Minnesota Timberwolves have decided to fire head coach Kurt Rambis, but will not make the official announcement until after tomorrow’s draft:

Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn has decided to fire coach Kurt Rambis, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Kahn isn’t expected to announce the decision until after Thursday’s NBA draft, but he’s already begun collecting information on prospective replacements for Rambis, sources said…

Rambis has two years left on his original four-year contract. With the Timberwolves in the midst of a major rebuilding project, he went 32-132 as their coach, including a league-worst 17-65 this season.

Kahn told reporters he’d made the unusual request of asking Rambis to file a written report to him on changes Rambis would make if he returned as coach. He also said Rambis won’t attend the Timberwolves’ draft on Thursday night.

Kahn had wanted Rambis to become a better communicator with players. He also wanted him to design an offense away from the triangle and toward the open-court talents of rookie point guard Ricky Rubio. Rambis’ relationship with key young players, especially Kevin Love, had been frayed, at best.

As Wojnarowski mentions in the article, Rambis had two years left on his four-year contract. With Rambis as head coach, the Timberwolves went 32-132. As a player, Rambis was a hard-charging role player who attacked the glass with passion, and he won four championships as a player with the Lakers. After his playing career ended, Rambis served as the head coach of the Lakers in 1999, leading the team to a 24-13 regular-season record, and later served as a Laker assistant from 2002-2009.

It must be disappointing for Rambis that he’s getting his walking papers right as the Timberwolves appear ready to move out of their endless rebuilding stage and start trying to become a contending team again for the first time since the Garnett era, but it looks like Minnesota’s front office didn’t feel he was the right man for the job going forward.


  1. cosanostra71 - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Minnesota did not give Rambis a fair chance. They didn’t give him players that fit into his system, and really didn’t give him talent at all. I think that if Rambis had players that can fit into the triangle (not Jonny Flynn at PG and Martell Webster running the important wing position) he can be a successful coach.

    • whatagreatfootballmind - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:46 PM

      he had a fair chance. don’t sit kevin love in the home opener in a close game in the 4th quarter. rambis felt al jefferson was a better player than kevin love and it took a david kahn trade of al jefferson for rambis to figure out kevin love was good, except for when you know he is on the bench during the 4th quarter of a close game. don’t try to implent a triangle offense on a team that didnt have a kobe bryant or michael jordan. rambis is not phil jackson

      • florida727 - Jun 23, 2011 at 6:47 AM

        Only thing I disagree with is the comment on implementing the triangle offense. Does having a Kobe or Jordan help? Of course it does. Is it a ‘requirement’? No. The triangle offense is about spacing and floor positioning. High school teams run the triangle offense. It’s a concept, not an individual. But if Rambis wants to be the next Phil Jackson, he better be given a Kobe or a Jordan as part of the deal.

      • whatagreatfootballmind - Jun 23, 2011 at 9:59 AM

        Anybody in high school can run the triangle offense. Comparing high school to the NBA is preposterous. I would like to think if your in the NBA you would have been dominant in high school. NBA talent is way better than high school. You do need a Kobe or Jordan to run the triangle. Rambis should have known that and instilled a different system. One look at the roster the day he took over, he should have known it wouldn’t work.

  2. sknut - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    While true he didn’t have great players, he really should have known the talent he had wasn’t going to run the triangle and changed his offense to accomadate the talent they had. Now lets hope that Kahn doesn’t blow it and hires a capable replacement. Especially one that can handle younger players.

    • cosanostra71 - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:14 PM

      he did change his offense to a degree.. they didn’t run as many triangle sets as I know Rambis would have liked to… the thing is- he’s a triangle coach and his strength is running the triangle. If you’re going to hire a triangle coach, you should give him players that fit into the system. If you don’t have the intention of getting players to fit into the triangle system, then don’t hire a triangle coach.

      • whatagreatfootballmind - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:48 PM

        part of a good coach is adapting to the players you have. he did not.

      • CJ - Jun 23, 2011 at 8:45 AM


        Yet, at the same time, part of a great organization is hiring a coach who’s scheme fits the players currently on the roster.

        If he’s been coaching there or 8 years and a key cog in his triangle left or something then that’s one thing, but hiring a guy to install a specific scheme and not giving him the players that fit it can set an organization back. Eddie Jordan bringing the Princeton offense to an athletic Sixers team comes to mind. By installing that scheme he took away the one thing that team actually did well offensively.

  3. lonedog54 - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    What a crazy crazy organization…fire the head coach a day before the draft….really…

  4. dogsweat1 - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Time to hire Wes Unseld……

  5. Justin - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    “as the Timberwolves appear ready to move out of their endless rebuilding stage and start trying to become a contending team again”

    Once I read that line I scrolled up to make sure Kurt didn’t write the article. He would never mutter those words.

  6. rajbais - Jun 22, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    GOOD!!! NOW FIRE KAHN!!!!!!!

    So what if crappy GM’s like get the boot before the team gets hot!!! Billy Knight was a bad GM in Atlanta and Memphis and they got better after he left!!!

    Guys like Kahn and Knight have a bad effect on a team and if they’re gone while the team is good, who cares!!!

    The T’Wolves have the worst GM in the NBA!!! It’s now time to have great additions by having TWO subtractions, Rambis and Kahn!!!!!!!!

  7. illyistic1 - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    good for rambis to get up from under kahn who is the worst gm i have ever seen and im not even a t-wolves fan.

  8. purdueman - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    Kahn’s a real tool, but Rambis didn’t do himself any favors by trying to jam the over hyped triangle offense down the throats of a bunch of green kids and no legitimate point guard either.

    When Chicago White Sox broadcaster heard about the news on the air tonight, he immediately quipped: “He Gone!!!”.

  9. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 22, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Kahn is an idiot. I have said that since he started making moves for the T-Pups. However, some (read: a lot) of the blame falls on Glen Taylor, the owner. He hired Kahn and even before that he has let this team and organization become a laughingstock of the NBA.

    • iplaybingowitholdpeopleandwin - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:33 PM

      Hey…don’t forget about Donald “I want poor black kids to play for me” Sterling. If it wasn’t for Blake Griffin, the Clippers would be irrelevant.

  10. trbowman - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Sam Cassell anyone? Former player, can relate to young guys & has been groomed for the job the last few years as a Wizards assistant.

    • purdueman - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      Good call, but anyone taking the job has to know that they are also going to inherit the on going headache of a meddling GM in their face day in and day out too. That would be enough to make me decline an interview for the job if I had the credentials to do so, but there are of course only a small finite number of NBA head coaching jobs and they all pay rather handsomely.

    • purdueman - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:17 AM

      Why not? After all, Cassell cost the T-Wolves their #1 draft choice next season!

  11. whatagreatfootballmind - Jun 22, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    Kahn has made this roster better today than it was when he took over a few years ago.

    Kahn interhitied
    Corey Brewer
    Bobby Brown
    Brian Cardinal
    Rodney Carney
    Jason Collins
    Randy Foye
    Ryan Gomes
    Al Jefferson
    Kevin Love
    Mark Madsen
    Mike Miller
    Kevin Ollie
    Craig Smith
    Sebastien Telfair
    Sheldon Williams

    this roster doesn’t scream TALENT.

    Kahn gut that crap loaded roster and now has
    Michael Beasley
    Wayne Ellingtin
    Johnny Flynn
    Lazar Hayward
    Wes Johnson
    Kevin Love
    Darko Milicic
    Nikola Pekovic
    Anthony Randolph
    Luke Ridnour
    Ricky Rubio
    Anthony Tolliver
    Martell Webster

    and either Derrick Williams or veteran they trade for,

    This roster is 100 times better than what he acquired. it is all coaching… or lack there of

    • mytthor - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:25 AM

      It’s ALL coaching? I have no idea how good of a job Rambis did; I don’t pretend to watch many T’Wolves games. But I look at your “100 times better” roster and I see one all-star who’s famous for playing no defense and a bunch of guys who wouldn’t start for half the teams in the league. The first roster at least has 2 all stars who don’t play defense in Love and Jefferson.

      • Justin - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:50 AM

        Jefferson has never made an all-star game. In fact, much of the problems with the Jazz have come from Jefferson’s extreme lack of defense. He was commonly referred to as the black hole because once it went into the paint he would never kick it back out.

        Another thing to point out is how bad our Salary was when Kahn took over. Now it is much better.

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 23, 2011 at 4:31 AM

      OMG! Thank you my man! Thanks for pointing that out, that’s what i’ve been saying since last years pre-season. I think that teams loaded with assets. Only thing is is you can’t really run triangle on a whole bunch of youngsters that just wanna fly. He definatly had the wrong personal for what he was trying to do though, not as much as he was a bad coach. He would be a better vets coach.
      The only real knock I can give the T-Wolves roster is that there are a few boneheads with low bball IQ and not much heart or desire, (SOME, not all) & they are just too collectivly young.
      And the knock on Kahn is that although he got a nice roster (on paper) he could have drafted even better and not handed out Darko that “big” contract and swear like he’s the 2nd coming of…
      plus alllllllllllllllllllll the stupid @$$ $h!t that he says. Not to mention his tendency to stack up PG’s like hustlers stack 100’s and not actually keep/draft the right/better ones. (Kept Flynn, traded Lawson. Drafted Flynn and Rubio back to back, passed on Steph Curry, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison…etc. etc.)
      Well, good luck next time around, Rambis. Sorry Kahn gave u an “F” on your exam. Your still a Laker for life!

    • LPad - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      both of those rosters stink and both teams have records that reflect that. Wes Johnson is really the only difference maker added to the roster and he’s still developing.

      Don’t buy the coaching thing or the triangle held them back thing. The Wolves averaged around 105 ppg last year, which would indicate the triangle was effective. They can’t defend, but that probably has more to due with the players themselves and the lack of quickness at the point with Ridnour, Wes’ lack of strength and inexperience, etc.

      • lebronsinsecurity - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:28 AM

        “The Wolves averaged around 105 ppg last year, which would indicate the triangle was effective.”

        Wow, cherry picking stats that only show half of the story..They also gave up like 109 ppg last year.. That’s coaching..

        You do realize that advanced stats actually prove that Ridnour was the 2nd most efficient player on that roster behind Love, right?? If you don’t buy the coaching was the issue, that says a lot..

      • LPad - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        lebron – my comment was referring to the idea that the Wolves roster is 100 times better now than it was before Kahn joined the organization. It clearly isn’t. I was also referring to a comment made by the same person that the triangle was ineffective last year. It clearly wasn’t.

        I wasn’t cherrypicking stats. one because I didn’t bother to look any up and two I acknowledged they couldn’t defend, however the average age of the players on the team is probably about 23 to 25 years old. Teams with rosters that young historically been bad at defense. It really does come down to youth sometimes. For example, Wes Johnson started at the 2 last year for them. He was a rookie, only weighs about 210 soaking wet. However, in the average week he was responsible for checking Kobe one day, Eric Gordon the next, followed by Manu. Come on, do you really expect him (as a rookie that needs to get stronger, coming from a zone system) to do a good to great job guarding those guys?

  12. odenxx - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:23 AM

    Now that kahn has taken such a bold move,I think I see 18 wins next year….not! Should have had some class and fire the guy last month.

  13. mytthor - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Kurt Rambis will be paid 2 million dollars per year for the next 2 years to NOT have to deal with David Kahn. He’s my hero. Maybe Rambis was smart enough to turn in his “homework assignment” with one sentence “To improve the Minnesota Timberwolves next year I would replace the general manager.”

    This article refers to the written assignment he was supposed to do as an unusual request. I’ve never heard of it happening before, certainly can’t believe Kahn would make it public.

  14. whatagreatfootballmind - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    Al Jefferson an All-Star? Geez I must have slept through that year. What year was that? Al Jefferson is a big black hole, where the ball goes in and never comes out. Al Jefferson is the most overrated player in NBA history! Never made an All-Star Game.

  15. whatagreatfootballmind - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Would anybody rip a GM for trading Randy Foye and Mike Miller for the No. 5 overall pick, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila, and Oleksiy Pecherov.

    Oh that number 5 pick, is somebody called Ricky Rubio.

    Ricky Rubio, the only player left on any team in that trade. Kahn fleece Washington for Rubio.

  16. lunds007 - Jun 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    I don’t get the hate on Kahn??? I agree that the roster is much better than the one he inherited. All they need is a couple veterans, some Defense, and a SG.

    This team will get better and could be in playoff contention within 3 years. That would be a job well done in my opinion.

  17. LPad - Jun 23, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    I’ll take John Wall over an unproven PG that can barely shoot 40% from the field in Europe. Let’s wait and see if Rubio is any good in the states before saying Kahn fleeced anybody. Heck, if Rubio isn’t better than Lawson than I guess Denver fleeced Kahn. If I were a Minnesota fan I would want Kahn fired if Rubio isn’t better than Lawson. Seriously, other than Rubio what has Kahn done? Sign Darko.

    • lebronsinsecurity - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      Hahaha! What does Wall have to do with anything.. This right here is a prime example of what I was talking about below.. Throwing Euro stats out there to prove an argument.. Wow.. according to you Brandon Jennings was going to be horrible right??

      • LPad - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        I actually thought Jennings was going to be a good point guard. And sorry the rim’s still 10 ft high, if he can’t shoot it well in Europe, he isn’t going to shoot it well in the NBA. He’ll probably get better at it, but right now it’s a question mark.

        Also, the Wall comment is legit. Do you read all the comments in a thread before posting? If so, then how can you see Wall has nothing to do with the idea “that Khan fleeced the Wizards”. Given the fact, the Wizards ended up getting a better player before Rubio even made it to a single Minnesota practice would indicate the Wizards didn’t miss out on anything. Or do you think the Wizards are upset or disappointed that they don’t have Rubio.

        Again, Rubio better be as good or better as Lawson or Khan will be known as the GM who drafted three point guards and traded away the best one.

    • Justin - Jun 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

      Your lack of basketball knowledge amazes me. Kahn did NOT draft Ty Lawson. We traded the pick to Denver. Denver called and said we want Lawson. Their is a rule in the NBA that you the drafting team has to select a player. This is common practice. So while you may wikipedia the 2009 NBA draft and it says we drafted Lawson it doesn’t necessarily mean that.

      Also Ty Lawson is better than John Wall. But maybe we should compare Wall’s college stats to Lawson’s pro stats since both hoops are 10′.

  18. lebronsinsecurity - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    I fond all these comments ripping Khan hilarious.. It’s the whole ESPN/ knucklehead writers making opinions for you scenario.. Yes, he’s said stupid thing in public he shouldn’t have, he also picked Flynn, nobody is forgiving him for that, but everything else said is insane.. Anyone who has really followed this team knows that in the last two years since Khans arrival, we actually have hope.. Our roster looks 100% better & our financials are finally in order, and Khan’s never been on the bad end of a trade…To prove how miserable this team was before Khan, the Clips have our 1st rounder next year in the Marco Jaric debacle(Thanks McHale).. When you play in a market no FA wants to sign in, you have to get creative.. I think the majority of posters on here are Lakers fans who feel they need to defend Rambis, which is fine, but on the other hand, I think you guys don’t realize what it’s like to be a fan of an organization that’s NOT the Lakers.. Things aren’t as simple as the Lakers make it look.. Rambis had to go, plain and simple.. Trying to plug Rubio in the triangle would have been a nightmare… Ask Kidd how he felt about running the triangle back in the day in Dallas. It was a failed experiment.. Also, if anyone on here is tired of the simple minded posters this site seems to attract now, check out Prosportsdaily’s NBA forum.. While there is some knuckleheads, the majority of them REALLY know basketball and don’t rely on ESPN pundits to formulate an opinion..

    • LPad - Jun 23, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      Real glad the owner got his financials in order.

      Will they be signing any impact free agents this year? Hmm, doesn’t seem to be any on the market.

      Will they be making a big trade? Hmm, doubtful. It’s a weak draft, all they have is the 2nd pick, and contenders won’t be moving a big pieces for DWilliams just small ones like Odom and his expiring deal.

    • mytthor - Jun 23, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      I actually am a Lakers fan, since you mention it, but I’m also a Padres fan, so I know EXACTLY how it feels to be a fan of a crappy small market franchise for which everything has to go right to be a .500 team. I’ll also take responsibility for calling Al Jefferson an all-star, but he has been a 20-10 guy in the league. There is NO ONE else on that “improved roster” who’s going to do that, unless you’re going to count Rubio, who so far has done nothing to show he’s going to be an NBA star except suck Europe.

      All this hate for Jefferson and love for Love? Bad news – they’re the same player. Love passes better, Jefferson blocks shots.

      As for everyone bad mouthing the triangle, Kahn was the one that hired Rambis to run it and then proceeded to give him a roster that wouldn’t work. Though I’m not sure what offense can be run that needs that many point guards. Maybe the sign of a good coach is adapting to the roster you’re given, but the sign of a good GM is a roster that works for the coach.

  19. purdueman - Jun 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Here’s a quick, fun little game. It’s called: “Spot the Chump!”
    With the 1st pick in the NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose;
    With the 2nd pick in the NBA draft, the Miami Heat select Michael Beasley;
    With the 5th pick in the NBA draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Kevin Love.
    Can you spot the chump! Bwahahahahahahaaha!! The chump… some genious!!!

  20. ndirishfan1 - Jun 23, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    David Kahn left this guy twisting in the wind for over 70 days. That just seems like too long of a time to hold a gun to somebody’s head debating whether to pull the trigger. I don’t feel bad for people who get paid millions of dollars not to work, but this is a rare occasion.

  21. thetooloftools - Jun 26, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    Hello … Brian Shaw please………………………

    • purdueman - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:19 AM

      Shaw reportedly has reached an agreement to become the Pacers head assistant coach.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2545)
  2. K. Irving (2222)
  3. A. Davis (1915)
  4. K. Bryant (1604)
  5. L. James (1604)
  1. K. Durant (1475)
  2. A. Aminu (1453)
  3. M. Leonard (1424)
  4. T. Thompson (1379)
  5. A. Jefferson (1254)