The vestiges of the David Kahn Era in Minnesota are apparently no longer safe. Flip Saunders officially assumed his role as President of Basketball Operations last Friday, and he has already started to reshuffle the scouting staff and re-organize the front office. Saunders recently fired five scouts, including international scouting director Pete Philo, in an effort to reshape the scouting staff and system set up by Kahn, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Saunders set the goal of building a team capable of competing for an NBA championship in his introductory press conference, and his first step toward that goal is to dismantle the regional-scouting system used by Kahn. Philo, a big name in the organization's scouting staff, ran the pre-draft Eurocamp and helped the team sign European players like Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved. He was "a bit shook up" about Saunders' decision.
With the 2013 NBA Draft less than two months away, Saunders has plenty of work to do to get his system into place. The Timberwolves own two first-round picks and a pair of second-round picks in the upcoming draft. They are in the No. 9 slot in the draft lottery -- they have a 1.7 percent chance of landing the first overall pick -- in addition to picks Nos. 26, 52 and 59. It could be a big summer for the franchise.
The organization also has off-season decisions to make regarding Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger, which is discussed over at Timberwolves blog Canis Hoopus.