Flip Saunders confirms reports he'll coach Timberwolves


Several media outlets are reporting that Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders is taking the team's head coaching job, which Saunders confirmed to ESPN.

The Associated Press' Jon Krawczynski initially tweeted out the information, shortly followed by KFAN's Dan Barreiro.

Barreiro followed up his tweet suggesting that the Saunders' head coaching gig for the Wolves will be temporary.

The Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda reports that Saunder's "is expected to include former Wolves players Sam Mitchell and Sidney Lowe."

Lowe also previously coached the Wolves, from 2003-04. He was replaced by Bill Blair, who was replaced by Saunders in his first coaching run with the team.

Sources tell ESPN that former Wolves guard Chauncey Billups is expected to be offered an assistant position as well.

Saunders will replace former Wolves head coach Rick Adelman, who retired in April.

The Pioneer Press' Andy Greder believes there's a motive behind Saunders' hiring.

"The subtext to this move is keeping Kevin Love," Greder wrote.

ESPN's Marc Stein, on the other hand, reports that the hiring had nothing to do with Love potentially leaving.

Saunders said Sunday that the team intends on retaining Love for this season, despite speculation that the team would try to trade Love this season since the star forward reportedly told the team that he would be seeking free agency next year.

Saunders, 59, previously coached the Wolves during the 1995-96 season. He was fired during the 2004-05 season. He was replaced by then-Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale as head coach.

According to the AP, Saunders coached the Wolves to their only eight playoff appearances in team history.

The reports of Saunders' hiring come shortly after the Wolves owner Glen Taylor briefly courted Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joeger. A Minnesota native, Joeger decided to stay with the Grizzlies.

Saunders returned to the Wolves in May 2012, replacing former GM David Khan.

Prior to Saunders' reported hiring as head coach, at least one person voiced opposition to such a move.

The Star Tribune's Patrick Reusse wrote in April that he was against the idea of Saunders returning to the bench after Adelman's departure, saying, "The Wolves fans need a coach to rally around, and he’s not Saunders. Flip’s the basketball boss to rally around."

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