Timberwolves get OK to speak to Bickerstaff about head coaching job

Ex-Sonics coach was hired as Blazers assistant last year

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

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There could be another member of the Trail Blazers parting ways with the organization soon.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have asked the Blazers’ permission to interview Portland assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff, 67, for their soon-to-be head-coaching vacancy, the Oregonian reported.

Blazers president Larry Miller gave the go-ahead last week.

Bickerstaff was hired as an assistant by the Blazers in July of last year after serving as the head coach of the Seattle Supersonics from 1985-1990, the Nuggets from ‘95-96, the WIzards from ‘97-99 and the Bobcats from ‘04-07.

“Bernie’s been in that position before,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan told the Oregonian. “So we’ll see what happens. I don’t want to speak for Bernie, but I know he’s extremely happy with Portland and being here working with me. He’s said time and time again he likes where we are and what we’re doing. It’s going to have to be something really attractive to go.”

Bickerstaff’s career coaching record stands at 415-517. He also served as general manager during his coaching stints with Denver and Charlotte.

Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis has not officially been fired, but multiple sources have reported that the ousting is inevitable. Yahoo, meanwhile, reported that the Timberwolves may pursue Bickerstaff as part of a plan to groom his son J.B. Bickerstaff to be the team’s coach in the future. J.B. is currently a Wolves assistant.