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Kurt Rambis fired as Timberwolves coach

July 12, 2011 | 10:08 am

Rambis_275 After three months of waiting and speculation, former Laker Kurt Rambis has lost his job as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Back when the Timberwolves' season ended in April, president of basketball operations David Kahn said he would take his time with the decision about Rambis' status with the team. Three months later, Kahn announced that decision, saying it was a difficult move to make, but the right one.

“It is always hard to make these decisions. It is especially hard when it involves somebody of Kurt's reputation,” Kahn said in a statement.

Rambis was 32-132 in his two seasons with the team, including an NBA-worst 17-65 last season. He has two years left on his contract.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has given me,” Rambis said in a statement given to The Associated Press. “During my years working with coaches [Phil] Jackson, [Pat] Riley and [Cotton] Fitzsimmons, I learned all about the ups and downs of this sport. And today is one of the down days.

“But I'm 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, and I am thankful for the chance I had to play a part in shaping that future.”

Rambis is closely associated with the Lakers, having spent nine of his 14 seasons as a player with the team, winning four championships along the way. He went on to spend three years as an assistant coach to Del Harris and became interim head coach when Harris was fired 12 games into the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

When Jackson came aboard the following season, Rambis remained with the team in various roles until taking the Timberwolves job in 2009.

The Oregonian reports the Timberwolves have asked for permission to talk to veteran NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, currently an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers and a former general manager.


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Wire services contributed to this report.

Photo: Kurt Rambis. Credit: Jim Mone / Associated Press