Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said he will conduct an “extensive” search for a new coach who has a proven “track record” and can bring the team an offensive identity like the just-retired Rick Adelman did. Here’s a list of possibilities:
He has refused at every turn to rule himself out. That says a lot right there. Owner Glen Taylor said he thinks each job deserves its own master and doesn’t want Saunders coaching, too. At least he says that now. Saunders could sell his relationship with Kevin Love this season as the best chance the franchise has to keep its superstar long-term.
The Flip connection
Saunders is fast friends with two coaching candidates in particular:
He consulted with Saunders on last summer’s draft, but why would Izzo leave all he has built at Michigan State for this?
Jeff Van Gundy
He’s another pal who hasn’t coached since 2007 and has a good television-analyst gig. He avoided answering when asked last week during a conference call if he has any interest in the job.
The Wolves could replace a 1,000-game winner with one of only seven other men who have done so. The best quick-fix solution, but his agent last week indicated his client isn’t interested in such a rebuilding job.
If the Wolves need to add toughness — and both Saunders and Adelman listed that Monday as a big need — nobody would add more than the defensive-minded Hollins. He might strangle half of this offensive-minded roster, however.
ESPN reported Monday that the Wolves have interest, but see Izzo above. Why would he leave Florida? Remember: He accepted the Orlando job in 2007, was introduced as Magic coach and changed his mind with a team that had a young Dwight Howard.
Former Wolves player and NBA Coach of the Year was a candidate in 2011 — most likely at Taylor’s urging — when Adelman was hired. He also played for Saunders with the Wolves.
Stan Van Gundy
Jeff’s brother seems more willing to get back in the game, but Love’s uncertain status and Van Gundy’s school-age children could be issues.
The defensive-minded coach was fired by New York on Monday.
Cross him off the list?
The Iowa State coach is a hot, young commodity and a hometown hero who just got a $600,000 raise, but Saunders says “this is not the time” for him to move to the NBA, not with an adoring fan base in Ames and a family he doesn’t want to uproot.