Last month at the NBA Draft Lottery in New York City, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor seemed uncertain when asked if Flip Saunders, who is also the team’s president of basketball operations, would once again be its head coach next season.
“It’s not definite,” Taylor said, after pausing for a few seconds when asked specifically about Saunders returning as head coach. “But in my mind, with the effort that he put in this year to bring this team along, it’s probably 90 percent. If he sees somebody and he changes his mind, he certainly could convince me. I think eventually I want a different coach, and I want him to be the GM. My guess is that he’ll go another year.”
Saunders himself, in an interview on NBC Sports Radio, seemed to indicate that it remains a fluid situation.
Are you going to coach this team?
Saunders: “Right now I’m coaching the team. It’s a question everybody asks. It’s interesting, when I ended up coaching a year ago, it was the right thing to do at that time for the organization. We had the unknowns with Kevin Love, we would have pigeonholed ourselves if we took a veteran coach and maybe not have the flexibility to go as young as we did. Right now, the most important thing is to develop our young talent. We have done a pretty good job with our staff and organization moving in that direction. Until I feel we can get somebody who can move forward a little bit, we’ll [stay] where we’re at.”
Do you hear from coaching agents often?
Saunders: “Last year I probably talked to 12 coaches. A lot of people probably weren’t aware. I’m not one to advertise. I’ve done the same thing as far as numerous coaches this year. It might not be for right now, but it could be down the road. I’m constantly in the evaluation process for coaches.”
Saunders seems open to stepping back into a front-office only role. But with the Timberwolves at the beginning of a rebuilding process, he’s only going to do so if he can find what he feels to be a perfect fit from a coaching standpoint to lead this transition.
“Right now,” he sees himself as the team’s best option.