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Petrie: Adelman will return to Kings
Updated: 2004-05-22 11:16

Though the Sacramento Kings will contemplate several changes in the wake of their second-round playoff loss, coach Rick Adelman will be back next season.

Sacramento Kings coach Rick Adelman, center, talks with with referee Bennett Salvatore, left, as Kings guard Doug Christie(13) checks the scoreboard during the final minutes of Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference semifinal series against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis, Wednesday, May 19, 2004. The Timberwolves beat the Kings 83-80 to advance to the conference finals. [AP]
Geoff Petrie, the Kings' president of basketball operations, said Friday that Adelman's job is safe. Adelman has led the Kings to the playoffs in each of his six seasons in charge, but Sacramento was eliminated by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

"I think Rick's done an excellent job," Petrie said. "He's been the best coach for this team. He's maintained the respect of the players. We have a style of play that people generally admire, and it's entertaining. And he's a proven winner. We want to keep that going."

The Kings had the NBA's best record for much of the regular season, but they never were the same after Chris Webber returned from offseason knee surgery in February. Sacramento lost eight of its final 12 regular-season games, blowing the Pacific Division title with a loss to Golden State on the final day.

The Kings won their first-round playoff series against Dallas in five games, but fell in a tense seven-game series against Minnesota. Sacramento lost 83-80 in Game 7 at the Target Center.

Petrie is known for aggressive moves to improve his team, but he seems pleased by the Kings' current nucleus despite consecutive second-round playoff defeats over the past two seasons. Of the Kings' top seven players, only center Vlade Divac is not under contract for next season — and Petrie hopes Divac also will return.

"They're a proven group, and they've been highly successful, so that's a very, very positive thing," Petrie said. "It's really hard to sit here and speculate on all the things you may or may not be able to do between now and July or August. Whatever we do, it will be well thought out. Hopefully, we'll end up improving the team."

And contrary to media suggestions, Petrie doesn't believe Webber is interested in a trade. Webber, stung by boos from Sacramento's fans when he struggled early in his return, is just three years into a seven-year, $127 million contract.

"It certainly wouldn't be my first or second choice, or maybe even any choice, about trading Chris," Petrie said. "I think he's going to continue to regain his ability to be productive. And he had a very tough year. I mean, let's face it, he had a tough year, on the court and off the court, and he came back and hung in there."

Petrie also might encourage Stojakovic to consider skipping the Olympics after a difficult season. Stojakovic was the NBA's second-leading scorer in the regular season, but he appeared worn down by constant tough defense in the playoffs.

"I talked to him after the game in Minnesota the other night to tell him that he needs to let his body rest," Petrie said. "He's got a decision to make about playing in the Olympics."

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