If Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn’s departure is imminent, it is news to him.
The NBA’s website on Friday reported former Wolves coach Flip Saunders is negotiating with Wolves owner Glen Taylor a five-year contract worth more than $9 million to replace Kahn.
The Wolves can pick up an option for next season before Kahn’s contract expires in late May.
Kahn wrote a text-message statement Friday saying he and Taylor will meet “at an appropriate time” to discuss his contract and his future with the team, but only after coach Rick Adelman decides whether he will coach next season.
“And after Glen has all the information he needs,” Kahn wrote. “It is no different than when we make decisions on players who have options. We wait for the process to unfold. In the meantime, Glen and I have been having conversations about the staff, free agency and other plans.”
Kahn began his text by writing, “First, I wake up every day knowing it’s a privilege to have this job, and not a right. Speculation about our jobs is part of this business, especially when you strip the emotion out of it. Speculation is especially understandable now, as we have a deep and talented team, with several cornerstone players, and will be poised for big success once it regains its health.”
Saunders and Taylor have acknowledged they have had frequent discussions these last 10 months while Saunders has represented a group or groups of partners interested in buying the team from the Mankato businessman, with the presumption Saunders would run basketball operations under that new ownership.
Two weeks ago, Taylor said he hadn’t found a suitable buyer and planned to keep the team for the foreseeable future. If Saunders replaces Kahn — a move that could come as early as next week, the nba.com report said — there is no indication that it would be as part of a new ownership group.
There’s also no indication that such a move means coach Rick Adelman has already made his decision.
Saunders didn’t exactly deny he will be the Wolves next basketball boss in coy appearances Friday on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and his regular Friday afternoon radio appearance on KFAN-AM.
Saunders acknowledged in both interviews his long-standing relationship with Taylor and said the two talk frequently about league matters and about players.
“All I can say is what develops has yet to be really determined,” he said.
He declined to comment when asked on KFAN whether he was interested in the job. And when asked if he has been offered the job, he said, “I cannot confirm that. At this point, no. I don’t know what happens hypothetically, but I have not been officially offered any job.”
Taylor and Saunders didn’t return telephone messages from the Star Tribune seeking comment about the nba.com report. Saunders was in Bristol, Conn., doing commentary work on the NBA playoffs for ESPN.