Flip Saunders returns to Timberwolves’ bench

By Ian Sacks,

Having led the franchise to all eight of its postseason berths, Minnesota Timberwolves president and part-owner Flip Saunders has decided to re-take the coaching reins.

Saunders, who coached the team from 1995-2005, was looking for a person who could coach the team amid unusual circumstances. Power forward Kevin Love, a three-time NBA All-Star, could be playing his final year in Minnesota, which already has and will continue to spark all sorts of interest.

“The last I knew Kevin was under contract with us, and I expect him to be playing for us next year,” Saunders said on Sunday, according to SI.com. “I know there’s a feeding frenzy out there from a lot of teams. Unfortunately, they have no say. I plan on Kevin being here.”

After determining that the next coach of the franchise should have head coaching experience at either the professional or major collegiate level, Saunders and majority owner Glen Taylor met to figure out how to proceed.

Saunders is expected to contact Sam Mitchell, Chauncey Billups and David Blatt about joining his coaching staff. Mitchell and Billups played with the Timberwolves, and Blatt has been instrumental in basketball operations and coaching in Russia and Israel.

In 16 seasons as an NBA head coach, Saunders has amassed a 638-526 record. He led Minnesota to the 2004 Western Conference Finals, the only time the franchise advanced past the first round. Since he left the sidelines, the Timberwolves have yet to post a winning season.

The vacancy Saunders is filling was created by Rick Adelman, who retired at the end of the season. The press conference to announce Saunders as head coach is scheduled for Friday, reports ESPN.

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