The Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to fire coach Kurt Rambis, but that hasn't stopped them from starting the process of seeking out his replacement.
The Timberwolves asked the Portland Trail Blazers for permission to interview assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff, according to a report Monday in the Oregonian newspaper. The Blazers, according to the report, agreed late last week to honor the request.
"Bernie's been (a head coach) 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."
McMillan and Blazers president Larry Miller did not know when Bickerstaff had an interview scheduled, according to the report.
Bickerstaff has a career 415-517 record in 14 seasons as an NBA head coach, most recently as the Charlotte Bobcats' coach from 2005-07. Bickerstaff was an assistant coach on McMillan's staff last season.
"Bernie's been around for a long, long time," McMillan told the Oregonian. "He's seen so many different systems and worked with so many different coaches. He's been a GM; a president. He's done just about everything you can do in the NBA except own a team. So he has a great deal of experience and knowledge for the game and he can help in so many different ways."
Yahoo! Sports first reported on June 22 that, according to league sources, the Timberwolves had decided to fire Rambis. Rambis has a combined 32-132 record as Minnesota's coach over the last two seasons.