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Reports: Three elite college coaches tied to open NBA job

Apr 21, 2014, 12:46 PM EST

Billy Donovan AP

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman has retired in order to spend more time with his family, which is a fact that is normally covered by Kurt and the guys over at Pro Basketball Talk.

And it was.

So why am I bringing it up here?

Because some of the names being tossed around as a potential replacement for Adelman will look quite familiar to the people that pay more attention to the college game.

Tom Izzo and Fred Hoiberg were two names that popped up immediately. There had been rumblings in recent months that Izzo is getting fed up with the recruiting games that are played at the collegiate level. He was mentioned as a candidate for the Detroit Pistons job back in March and strongly considered heading to Cleveland back in 2011, and all that is before you consider the fact that Izzo and Flip Saunders, Minnesota’s president of basketball operations, are close friends.

Hoiberg’s an obvious candidate. He played for the Timberwolves for two seasons before heart surgery ended his career and was the VP of basketball operations there before taking the Iowa State job. It’s a natural fit, and it wasn’t exactly a secret that the job would be coming open. That’s part of the reason that Iowa State gave Hoiberg a massive raise when the season ended. $23.4 million guaranteed to coach the team he grew up loving in his hometown as an alumnus of the university is tough to turn down.

Here’s the most interesting name: Florida’s Billy Donovan, which was floated by Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

Whoever ends up taking the job, their first order of business will be to try and convince Kevin Love that he actually wants to be in Minnesota. Without, the job looks pretty dire. The Timberwolves haven’t been to the Playoffs in a decade, they are coming off of a 40-42 season and they could be losing the guy they were hoping to build their franchise around.