Flip Saunders hires himself to coach Timberwolves

Rob Carr

Saunders will take over the team after failing to lure Dave Joerger, among other potential candidates.

Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders will take over as the team's next head coach, according to Jon Krawczynski of the Associated PressESPN's Marc Stein has confirmed the report.

Saunders will become the head coach after failing to find a replacement for former head coach Rick Adelman, who retired after a 40-42 season in Minnesota.

Saunders thought he had his next coach in Memphis Grizzlies headmaster Dave Joerger after it appeared Joerger was on the outs in Memphis during a front office shakeup. But when the Wolves and Grizzlies got together to discussion compensation, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera decided he wanted to keep Joerger, leaving Saunders to search for another coach.

Sam Mitchell, Lionel Hollins, Scott Skiles and Vinny Del Negro were all candidates for the position, but either Saunders preferred to coach the team himself or none of those candidates had legitimate interest. The Wolves are in a state of flux with the questions about Kevin Love swirling around the team, and those potential coaches might not have wanted to lead a team on the verge of losing its star player.

Saunders will try and convince Love to stick around, and the fact that Saunders is coaching the team could complicate potential trades. But all indications are that Love wants out, so Saunders may have to bite the bullet and move his star player.

Saunders last coached in the NBA with the Washington Wizards in 2011-12. Saunders' NBA coaching career began in Minnesota in 1995-96, where he spent nearly 10 seasons before getting fired. The 59-year-old also coached the Detroit Pistons for three seasons.

Saunders has a regular-season winning percentage of .548 to go along with a 47-51 record in the postseason.

Update: Marc Stein reports Love still intends to opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the 2014-15 season.

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