Glad he is finally getting the opportunity. Next to Mike Brown he is very deserving
Seattle assistant beat out CarlesimoBy Marc Stein
The Minnesota Timberwolves are negotiating with Dwane Casey after offering their vacant coaching job to the longtime Seattle assistant.
Casey, according to NBA coaching sources, beat out San Antonio Spurs assistant P.J. Carlesimo and deposed Cleveland coach Paul Silas in the race to succeed Flip Saunders as Wolves coach. Sources said Casey and the Wolves began exchanging contract figures Tuesday and are progressing toward an agreement.
Team vice president Kevin McHale coached Minnesota to a 19-12 record after Saunders was fired in mid-Feburary, but the 44-38 Wolves missed the playoffs just one year after ending a run of seven consecutive first-round exits by reaching the conference finals.
McHale maintained from the start that he didn't want the job on a permanent basis, and Casey materialized as a leading contender early last week.
A finalist for jobs in Toronto and Atlanta last summer, Casey is also a finalist for the coaching vacancy in Portland. Barring an unexpected breakdown in Casey's talks with the Wolves, Portland is expected to turn to Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni.
Sources indicated that the Blazers, however, are holding off to see if they have a shot at Casey's boss in Seattle: Nate McMillan. The Sonics refuse to allow McMillan to speak to other teams until his contract expires June 30, and the leaguewide expectation remains that Seattle will sign McMillan to a lucrative extension either before or soon after that date.
Carlesimo was thought to be McHale's original top choice to take over, but speculation persists that Wolves star Kevin Garnett -- at the urging of friend and teammate Latrell Sprewell -- has reservations about playing for Carlesimo.
Sources said Garnett was intrigued by the idea of playing for the veteran Silas, but Casey, 48, is highly regarded for his role in the unheralded Sonics' 50-win season and has a strong reputation for developing players after 11 seasons in Seattle.