Report: Timberwolves open coaching search that includes Ryan Saunders

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The Timberwolves reportedly negotiated terms of a contract with interim coach Ryan Saunders.

Then, they hired Gersson Rosas as team president.

That sparked questions about Rosas’ power to choose his own coach. Is he stuck with Saunders, or can he hire someone else?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

New Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas plans to interview candidates for the franchise’s head-coaching job this week, including Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard and Portland Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool, league sources told ESPN.

Interim coach Ryan Saunders will remain a prominent candidate in Minnesota’s coaching search, but Rosas plans to engage in a process with outside candidates before formalizing a decision on a new head coach, league sources said.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

It’s now clear Rosas has authority to name his own coach.

But going against Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor’s preference (Saunders) puts Rosas on the clock as a decisionmaker. If Rosas dismisses Saunders to hire someone who fails, Taylor will judge Rosas more harshly than if Rosas stuck with Saunders and Saunders failed. So, keeping Saunders is Rosas’ best move for extending his honeymoon with Minnesota as long as possible.

It also might be the right move. Saunders showed some nice signs as interim coach – not enough to justify forgoing a coaching search, but enough that he could win one. If Minnesota actually considers outside candidates then determines Saunders is the best person for the job, that’d be far more inspiring than just handing him the position because he was already in place.