The Minnesota Timberwolves have begun drawing up a list of coaching candidates and Don Nelson is on it, according to NBA coaching sources.
The Wolves plan to hold talks with Nelson to explore the feasibility of hiring the 71-year-old to replace Kurt Rambis, sources said. On Tuesday, sources said Nelson, who spent last year out of the game, is open to a return to coaching and intrigued by Minnesota's young roster.
Fellow coaching veteran Bernie Bickerstaff, who worked as an assistant in Portland last season, is the only candidate that the Wolves have publicly acknowledged. But the Wolves' interest in Bickerstaff was largely tied to the prospect of Minnesota keeping hold of his son, J.B. Bickerstaff, to groom him for a possible promotion to coach, sources said.
J.B. Bickerstaff since has committed to join Kevin McHale's new staff in Houston, along with another reported Wolves target, Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Kelvin Sampson.
It remains to be seen how much the Wolves are willing to spend on a replacement after Rambis was fired with two years left on his contract. If money is not an obstacle -- as Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn insisted earlier this week -- Minnesota also is expected to gauge the interest of former Rockets coach Rick Adelman.
Although it's widely assumed in coaching circles that Adelman, at 65, wants to a coach a veteran team if he takes one more job, he does have a link with Wolves star Kevin Love. Adelman's son and Love played on the same high school team in Oregon, and according to The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Adelman saw nearly every game Love played in his senior season while between NBA jobs.