New Timberwolves coach Rodgers gives the green light to high expectations


Jimmy Rodgers' seat on the Minnesota Timberwolves' bench won't be quite as hot as the one he occupied for two years at Boston Garden.

Nevertheless, he knows that the goal of every team -- from the glorious green-clad Celtics to the tenderfoot-green Timberwolves -- is winning.

"I think pressure is the healthiest thing in the world, whether it's to win championships in Boston or to build an eventual contender somewhere else," said Rodgers, who yesterday was named the second coach in the Timberwolves history. He received a three-year contract, more than $600,000 of which will be paid by the Celtics.

"I think high expectations are good," Rodgers said. "People here have a burning desire to win, too.

"What will be looked at here is the development of the program, how this team responds. Obviously, winning is what we're all about. But I think that also this is a little unique situation in that this franchise is only 2 years old. The main thing we're going to be looking at is trying to grow. We've got to grow. We've got to get better. We've got to move on to the next level.

Rodgers' predecessor, Bill Musselman, was fired April 22 after two stormy years because management thought he wanted to win at the expense of building for the future.

Conversely, Rodgers was fired May 8, 1990, from his only other head coaching job because he didn't win enough for Boston.

Rodgers, 48, had a 94-70 regular-season record over two seasons, but his Celtics lost in the first round of the playoffs both years.

* HORNETS: The prospect of paying a No. 1 draft pick more tha $3 million has Charlotte looking to cut salary expenses, and one option under consideration is to send guard Rex Chapman and forward J.R. Reid to the San Antonio Spurs.

The trade would bring swingman Willie Anderson to the Hornets, a source close to the Spurs told The Charlotte Observer.

The deal would help the Hornets stay under the NBA salary cap when they make their No. 1 pick Wednesday. It could increase the likelihood that Charlotte will use the pick to get Nevada-Las Vegas forward Larry Johnson, the newspaper reported.

Hornets officials met with Johnson's agent Monday, but they say the team has not reached a final decision. Johnson's agent, Steve Endicott, has said Johnson wants to play in Charlotte.

* HAWKS: Club president Stan Kasten said Kevin Loughery, named head coach of the Miami Heat on Monday, still could join the Heat by Wednesday's draft if the Hawks complete a trade they are discussing.

The Hawks have said Loughery will remain with them until after the draft as an assistant. Atlanta has refused to release Loughery until then, saying it needs his input.

* NUGGETS: The majority owner of the Nuggets expressed interest in finding a buyer for the team or at least in selling a minority interest to someone from Denver.

"The ownership is not represented in Denver. We feel it would be a beneficial to the team to have Denver represented," said Arthur Sando, a vice president of Communications Satellite Corp.'s video subsidiary, Video Enterprises, which owns nearly two-thirds of the team.

Comsat officials declined to disclose an asking price, saying all business dealings henceforth would be conducted in private.

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