Timberwolves may be leaning toward keeping Saunders

Sam Amico

The Minnesota Timberwolves are likely to retain Ryan Saunders as head coach, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Saunders took over for the fired Tom Thibodeau on an interim basis in early January.

"The abrupt timing of the coaching change was largely attributed to the hope that Saunders — after the Jimmy Butler trade saga suffocated the Wolves for the season’s first two months — would still have time to steer Minnesota to a second straight playoff berth," Stein wrote. "The Wolves will instead miss the playoffs for the 14th time in 15 seasons, but a steady stream of injuries has been an undeniable issue for the league’s youngest coach."

Saunders, who turns 33 next month, is the league's youngest coach. He is the son of late Timberwolves coaching legend Flip Saunders.

The Timberwolves are only 14-19 (entering Tuesday) since Ryan Saunders took over, but Stein pointed to his strong relationship with center Karl-Anthony Towns as one reason the team may be keen on keeping him beyond the season.

Plus, as Stein mentioned, the T-Wolves have been peppered with injuries.

Prior to being named interim coach, Saunders had been an assistant with the franchise since 20014.