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Wolves fire Sam Mitchell, begin search for new head coach

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The Minnesota Timberwolves relieved interim head coach Sam Mitchell of his coaching duties and will begin their search for a new head coach and a new head of basketball operations.

The announcement was made Wednesday night following Minnesota's 144-109 season ending victory over New Orleans.

In a statement, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said the search will focus "exclusively on candidates outside the current organization."

"The future of the Minnesota Timberwolves has never been brighter. It's important that we find the best leaders to shape our talented team and help them realize their full potential. We owe it to our fans, our community and to our players to ensure our team has the best chance possible of winning an NBA title."

Mitchell led the Timberwolves to a 29-53 record taking over following the death of Flip Saunders just before the start of the season. At that time Taylor said he would give Mitchell the full season before deciding what to do about the team's future.

The move comes one day after many of the Wolves players expressed their support of Mitchell.

"I would like to thank both Sam and Milt [Newton] for a good job under very difficult circumstances in guiding our team this season," Taylor said Wednesday night. "They were put in a historically challenging position as no team in NBA history has had an active head coach pass away. Both men provided our team with continuity and direction for the 2015-16 season."

Newton will stay on as the team's general manager, but will not continue in the head of basketball operations role.

So where does the search begin and are the Wolves looking for one or two people? Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski has some pretty big names on the Wolves short list.

Whether Minnesota hires one or two candidates may also depend on who they hire.

Taylor has hired the search firm Korn Ferry to assist. The last time the Wolves tried to search for a coach following the retirement of Rick Adelman, there weren't too many interested candidates.

That's not expected to be the case this time around – with Minnesota's emerging young core of Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine.

"It's funny to me, now all of a sudden this is a great job," Mitchell told the Star Tribune. "After last year, nobody wanted this job. Nobody thought this was a good job. Now all of sudden it's a good job, so I'm proud of that."

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