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Saunders downplays chance of returning to Wolves sideline

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Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations, Flip Saunders, is downplaying a potential return to the Wolves sideline.

The Wolves are beginning their search to replace former coach Rick Adelman, who retired on Monday.

Saunders, who previously coached the Wolves through the majority of 10 seasons from 1995 to 2005, told ESPN that he really doesn't see that scenario, returning him to the Wolves sideline.

"I know it's been brought up a lot, and you never say never, but we have a lot of things going on here," Saunders said to ESPN. "I've got a lot on my plate, and that's enough right now to deal with."

Many in the Twin Cities media still believe that Saunders will be the coach at the end of the process.

Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Flordia's Billy Donovan and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg have been the names most mentioned connected to the Wolves job. Saunders said earlier in the week that he doesn't think now is the time for Hoiberg in the NBA.

Others who the Wolves reportedly have interest in include former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy.

According to ESPN, the Wolves have interest in a big name college coach if Saunders stays in his current role. ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported this week that Izzo is intrigued by the Wolves' job and working with Saunders, who is a close friend of his.

It might not be an easy search for Minnesota.

The problem with Saunders not ruling himself out as a possible candidate could make the job less attractive to some top candidates, according to CanisHoopus, a Timberwolves-related blog.

 Further, even if Saunders wants to hire someone else, by hinting at his own availability and interest, it makes the job that much less appealing. Wouldn't any hire be concerned that Saunders will be looking over his shoulder, questioning his coaching decisions when he views himself as a potential coach?

There is no timetable set for the Wolves search.

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