Minnesota Timberwolves Coach Bill Musselman will be fired from the second-year NBA expansion team the day after the season ends, it was reported Friday.
The Star Tribune reported that a highly placed team source has confirmed Musselman will not be the Wolves' coach for the final year of his contract despite leading the club to 22 victories last season - the most of any of the four expansion teams - and 25 wins this season with six games remaining.Musselman's impending departure is being attributed to his strained relationship with his players, team President Bob Stein and co-owner Marv Wolfenson.
But Musselman says no one has told him he is being dismissed.
"I had a long talk with Marv today," Mussselman said Thursday night. "Marvin didn't give me any indication of that, and until they tell me so, I won't believe it. I've done a good job. I don't deserve to get fired. We've won more games this year than we did last year, and we could have won about nine or 10 more. They've given me a raise twice in the last year. That means I'm doing a good job? What's changed since then?"
Wolves guards Tony Campbell and Pooh Richardson were the first to bring out into the open the players' problems with their coach last November, complaining about how they were being utilized. Another unidentified player later was quoted as saying "there won't be one player, not even the guys who were with him in the CBA, who will be sorry to see him go."
The hard-driving Musselman, who was highly successful at the University of Minnesota and in the Continental Basketball Association but a flop in an earlier stint in the NBA with Cleveland, also has had friction with Stein over several issues.