Year-Round News & Updates on the Minnesota Timberwolves
After a six-week coaching search, Flip Saunders had decided that he is the best man for the job. The Wolves seemed to be close to naming Dave Joerger their head coach, however a last-minute "change of heart" kept Joerger (a Staples, MN native) in Memphis.
The coaching search also reportedly included interviews or talks with Vinny Del Negro, Lionel Hollins, Scott Skiles as well as three big-time collegiate coaches: Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Florida's Billy Donovan.
Ultimately, Saunders, with the encouragement of his buddy Jeff Van Gundy and the blessing of majority owner Glen Taylor, decided he was the best man for the job.
The news broke on Thursday afternoon and Saunders was officially introduced as the head coach in a press conference on Friday morning.
Saunders will reportedly keep his minority ownership and his President of Basketball Operations title. It's likely that he'll delegate a bit more to the GM he hired away from Washington last season; Milt Newton as well as the assistant GM Rob Babcock.
Some view Saunders' move back down to the sidelines as a last ditch effort to retain superstar forward Kevin Love. However, reports say that Love isn't so much concerned about who is coaching the team, but rather the state of the roster.
When asked during a radio interview on Friday afternoon, whether or not Love had the right to be frustrated, Saunders responded: "No". Flip added, "Should the team be frustrated? Yeah, the team can be frustrated. But I don't think any one individual should be frustrated."
Saunders also went on to tell a story about another Timberwolves superstar named Kevin,
"I tell a story about -- we were in the locker room when KG was in like his third year in the league, and Sam Mitchell was sitting in the locker room," Saunders said. "KG was in there, and we had lost a couple games, and we were all sitting there talking.
It's no secret that the Wolves had one of the best offenses in the League last season and that was thanks in large part to the play of Kevin Love. It's also no secret that the Wolves had one of the worst defenses in the NBA last season. That terrible defense was thanks to the non-existent rim protection presence of Kevin Love & Nikola Pekovic as well as the shoddy perimeter defense of Kevin Martin, the gambling play style of Ricky Rubio & Corey Brewer and one of the NBA's worst bench units.
Does Kevin Love have a right to be angry? I think a little bit, however I don't know of to many other "superstars" that make such little effort on the defensive end! In fact, you should probably only call him an All-Star, because in my opinion, a superstar is someone who is great on both ends of the court.
Ultimately I think the Wolves should trade Kevin Love. Get an established player or two and perhaps another pick in the upcoming Draft. Part of me sees Love's wanting out as betrayal while the other part of me complete understands it, considering Kahn & Taylor screwed him out of a max contract, despite the fact that we all knew he was well worth it.
Enough about Kevin Love, we'll be discussing him plenty for the next few months, I'm sure. Back to new head coach Flip Saunders...
Saunders coached the Wolves from 1996-2005 and amassed 411 wins in 737 games. He is by far the winningest coach in Timberwolves franchise history. In fact, the Wolves coach with the second-most wins is Rick Adelman during his three-year tenure in which the Wolves never had a winning season. As a matter of fact, the Wolves have only had 8 seasons in their 25-year history, that were 'winning-seasons' (.500 or better). All of which came under the leadership of Flip Saunders from 1997-2004.
Flip will reportedly put together a rather impressive assistant coaching staff that could include former Wolves Sam Mitchell, Sidney Lowe, Chauncey Billups & Sam Cassell as well as his son Ryan Saunders and Euro-coach David Blatt.
Stay tuned for more, thanks for reading HOWL!
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