McHale, Adelman Face Familiar Opponents Tonight At Target Center

McHale, Adelman Face Familiar Foes Tonight At Target Center

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Kevin Love and former Wolves general manager Kevin McHale will always be connected if not for one reason: McHale helped bring the All-Star forward to Minnesota thanks to an eight-player 2008 Draft Night trade that, among others, sent OJ Mayo’s rights to Memphis.

But with Love learning the NBA game early in his career and McHale spending 63 games coaching the Wolves in 2008-09, the two had a chance to build a relationship on and off the court—a relationship that Love said helped mould him as a player early in his career.

“He’s the reason I’m here now,” Love said. “I’m thankful for what he did for me, bringing me here and also working with me in my rookie year and giving me an opportunity to succeed and take my game to the next level. He’s somebody that I really respect on and off the court.”

Tonight at Target Center is a unique reunion for both coaches involved. When the Wolves and Rockets meet at Target Center, not only will McHale be returning to his home state where he spent 15 years as part of the Timberwolves organization. It will also be the first time Wolves coach Rick Adelman faces his former team that he led to a 193-135 record and two playoff appearances over the past four years.

Both coaches took different paths to their current jobs. Adelman seamlessly moved from Houston to Minnesota, taking no time away from the bench in the process. McHale, who last coached in 2009, spent time as an NBA analyst on TNT before returning to the court.

McHale said it wasn’t a difficult decision. He, like Adelman, have a passion for coaching.

“You’re out there and I enjoy it,” McHale said. “There are highs and lows—it’s like playing. You’re really involved. After losses you feel terrible. You’re looking at film. After wins you feel good. It’s competition; it’s more competition when you’re on the bench. You live your whole life with competition, and that’s really what you enjoy about it.”

Love said he wasn’t surprised McHale returned to the bench.

“I could tell being on the bench, he really enjoyed it,” Love said.

Adelman is in his 21st season as an NBA head coach, spanning stints with Portland, Golden State, Sacramento, Houston and Minnesota. His career .604 winning percentage is indicative of the simple fact he thoroughly enjoys seeing players grow and succeed.

“There are always frustrations, but I think working with the players, working with the team is special,” Adelman said. “If you can see success, see them growing as a team, I think that’s worthwhile.”

Both are leading teams brimming with excitement this winter. The Rockets (9-7) enter tonight winners of their past six games and have a back court in Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry that is aggressive and difficult to defend offensively. The Timberwolves continue to battle each night, and their 7-9 record is led by Love’s strong rebounding and Ricky Rubio’s vision at the point guard position.

Each coach will get the chance to take a glimpse of their past players’ progress while leading their current squads tonight.

McHale said it didn’t feel any different entering Target Center as an opposing coach. Come game time, he’ll get his first chance to see Love’s strong play from the other bench.

And maybe, he’ll recognize a few of Love’s moves in the paint. After all, the nurturing part of coaching is something both McHale and Adelmen enjoy.

“The way he plays—he’s just a basketball player,” McHale said. “He just goes out and plays. He’s a great, tremendous kid.”

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