Former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders, who enjoyed nearly a decade grooming a young Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, said in an interview on ESPN Radio on Wednesday that he can't envision a situation in which he would return to the team to replace the recently retired Rick Adelman next season.
Saunders, 59, is the current president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves, and while he acknowledged that talk of him returning to coaching duties next season has "been brought up a lot" and cautioned to "never say never," he said he simply can't see it happening:
"I know it's been brought up a lot, and you never say never, but we have a lot of things going on here. I've got a lot on my plate and that's enough right now to deal with."
With Adelman now retired and Saunders sounding like he will stand pat in the front office, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Florida's Billy Donovan and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg are each being looked at as possible head coaches by the Wolves for next season, according to the ESPN report, which said the team prefers to hire someone from the college basketball arena rather than the pros.
Saunders said Hoiberg coming to Minnesota isn't likely to happen, especially given that the Iowa State coach recently signed an extension, but ESPN has reported that Izzo is "intrigued" by the role left vacant by Adelman in part because he considers Saunders a close friend. The level of interest that Donovan has is unclear, according to the report.
Minnesota finished the regular season two games under .500 at 40-42. A key piece in finding the right coach, according to the report, is someone who the organization believes can convince franchise forward Kevin Love to stay in Minnesota longterm. The 25-year-old three-time All-Star can become a free agent in July 2015. ROWLAND: Phil Jackson and James Dolan reportedly already clashing over Knicks decisions