The Minnesota Timberwolves’ coaching search might be coming to a close.
Longtime Seattle SuperSonics assistant Dwane Casey was in negotiations to become the next Wolves coach, according to a report published Wednesday afternoon on ESPN.com.
Casey and the Wolves exchanged contract figures Tuesday and are progressing toward a deal, the report said, citing unidentified NBA coaching sources.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor and vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale did not return phone messages left by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
A Sonics representative said neither Casey nor any of the team’s administration was available for comment.
The Wolves have been searching for a head coach since February, when Flip Saunders was fired during an underachieving season. McHale took over on an interim basis and guided the team to a 19-12 finish, but it wasn’t enough to make the playoffs a year after the team reached the Western Conference finals.
Casey was a finalist last year for coaching openings in Atlanta and Toronto.
He was promoted to associate head coach of the Sonics in 2000.
Union director says deal can be made
There won’t be a lockout in the NBA this summer if there are only three issues left for owners and players to resolve, union director Billy Hunter said.
The problem, however, is that the opposing sides do not even agree on how many items are still in dispute.
Hunter traveled to the media headquarters hotel on an off day in the NBA Finals to state the players’ position regarding the stalled collective bargaining talks, saying he surmised from commissioner David Stern’s public comments last Sunday that only three issues remain – an age limit for rookies, a tougher drug-testing program and the maximum length of long-term contracts.
But NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik said Hunter’s assumption was incorrect.
“That’s almost a silly suggestion that anything’s been taken off the table. Those were merely three critical non-economic issues that we said we needed to have. That was the point there,” Granik told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.
So, with 15 days left until the current seven-year labor agreement expires, the sides cannot agree on where they stand in regards to what’s left to be negotiated.
Not only that, but there are no new talks scheduled.
Cavaliers decline option on Traylor
The Cleveland Cavaliers decided not to pick up the option on backup center Robert Traylor’s $1.76 million contract for next season.
Traylor averaged 5.5 points and a career-high 4.5 rebounds in 74 games as one of the team’s most dependable reserves last season.
The club had until midnight Wednesday to make a decision on Traylor.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.