Saunders had a great tenure as the best head coach in Minnesota Timberwolves history. Despite being fired by Taylor, the two remained a great relationship during these past eight years. Which have included head coaching stints in Detroit & Washington for Flip as well as a gig as an ESPN analyst.
In addition to becoming the new Pres. of Bball Ops, Flip will also be a minority owner. According to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, Saunders will be investing roughly $8million into the Wolves. While there have been rumors that Taylor had the team on the market to sell, it now appears that he's no longer interested at this time in selling the team and will continue on as the majority owner of the Wolves.
Saunders was a main candidate a couple months ago after the Minnesota Golden Gophers (Flip's alma-mater) fired head coach Tubby Smith. The job eventually went to Richard Pitino, which left the door open to a return to Minnesota.
I remember hearing the initial rumors about Flip becoming the new TWolves President of Basketball Operations in a story from the Star Tribune's Sid Hartman. At the time, I thought, "that'd be great, but it seems more than likely that Kahn is back for another season". Luckily that's not the case.
David Kahn was dismissed on Wednesday afternoon and Flip Saunders was introduced as the new President of Basketball Operations on Thursday afternoon.
David Kahn exits Minnesota as one of the worst GM's in the League. I read some stories that said that Wolves fans should be thankful, as Kahn has really built a great team that, unfortunately because of injuries we haven't seen at full-strength. While injuries have completely ruined the past two seasons, Kahn had little to do with building this roster. To his credit he did bring in Ricky Rubio. Beyond that, Kevin Love & Nikola Pekovic are both draft selections from the McHale-era.
When Rick Adelman agreed to become the new head coach he demanded that he have veto rights on any kind of transaction the Wolves make. Which meant Kahn was no longer allowed to make decisions and had to go through Rick for everything. The result? The Wolves added key pieces at the wings (Kirilenko & Budinger). Rick Adelman did get strong-armed into letting the Wolves sign Brandon Roy (a move that was later revealed as a gamble that Kahn wanted to take). The result? Roy played five games before retiring again and the Wolves were without a viable shooting guard, yet again. Add drafting Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry (and then drafting another point guard with the next selection in Rubio). Trading Ty Lawson for picks to Denver. Drafting Wesley Johnson over guys like Paul George (now an all-star) and talented big man DeMarcus Cousins (don't know that I'd want him anyway). And then of course the Kurt Rambis hiring as well as the failed experiments of Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph & Darko Milicic. During Kahn's four years in Minnesota he made poor decision after poor decision and it wasn't until Adelman was brought in that things finally began to turn around. There isn't a TWolves fan out there that will miss D. Kahn.
Flip will have a busy offseason ahead of him. Hopefully Rick Adelman will return as the head coach, something that Glen Taylor says he sees as 'very favorable'. Then come decisions on free agents Nikola Pekovic & Chase Budinger as well as the 2013 NBA Draft in which the Wolves own four selections (two in each round). He'll also go to work repairing a relationship between Kevin Love and the franchise after he felt he was wronged when he wasn't given a maximum contract. Love was notorious for not liking Kahn, so bringing in Flip is a large step in the right direction.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!