Flip Saunders as the next Timberwolves general manager?
That's either the best or worst idea the Wolves have had in the past year, depending on whether you prefer the world view or the traditional Wolves view, the vantage favored historically by team owner Glen Taylor:
World view: Why would you hire an unemployed coach at the age of 58 to do a job he's never done before? Saunders worked as the Wolves' president when he first joined the organization, but he was always a coach-in-waiting. What would make you think of Saunders as a talent evaluator who can help the Wolves catch rich or brilliant organizations like the Lakers and Spurs, or statistically savvy teams like the Rockets?
Wolves view: This is such an upgrade. Here's a guy who knows enough about basketball to know that Jonny Flynn is not going to become one of the best point guards in basketball. Someone who would have known that Flynn wasn't going to be a great NBA defender, much less a guy who could play shooting guard. Someone who would have taken Steph Curry instead of Flynn, and would have passed on Wes Johnson as well.
World view: He's like Kevin McHale. Remember, McHale, despite a few brilliant moves, failed as a talent evaluator and cast your franchise into a pit of despair from which it still hasn't extricated itself.
Wolves view: He's like Kevin McHale! Remember, Taylor employed McHale as a broadcaster, a general manager and twice as a coach. If Saunders, like McHale, has been smart enough to let Taylor win occasionally in golf, he could land a lifetime contract.
World view: He'd be almost too easy to hire. Saunders is hanging around Minnesota, considering getting back into basketball, probably willing to work for an affordable price. Do you want to hire someone just because it would be convenient, even though there isn't another NBA team that would hire him as their general manager?
Wolves view: He'd be so easy to hire! He's hanging around Minnesota, considering getting back into basketball, probably willing to work for an affordable price. Wouldn't it be great to hire someone so convenient, someone who fits only our organization?
World view: He's a Minnesotan. Hiring him would, theoretically, at least make a lot of Minnesotans happy, but where does that get you in the long run?
Wolves view: He's a Minnesotan! Hiring him might make some Minnesotans happy, even if only for a day. Next year, when half the roster comes down with a unique combination of bubonic plague and plantar fasciitis (it will come to be known as plantar plague), the marketing department can sell tickets to see the guy who used to know Kevin Garnett.
World view: Who else would take the job? Despite Taylor's protests, it's well known around the NBA that the last time Taylor tried to hire a general manager, the qualified candidates were scared off by their dealings with Taylor and Wolves upper management. That's how Taylor wound up settling for David Kahn, who never had worked before as a talent evaluator, as the organization's most important talent evaluator, right before one of the most important drafts in franchise history.
Wolves view: Who else would take the job? Last time around, we shrewdly winnowed out the supposedly qualified candidates who just weren't right for our organization, finally settling on Fabulous David. If the system ain't broke, don't fix it.
World view: Flip may want to coach the Wolves again. He's living in Minnesota, admits he's ready to return to the sideline. Do you want to hire, as Rick Adelman's boss, the guy who might be looking to replace Rick Adelman?
Wolves view: Flip may want to coach the Wolves again! He's living in Minnesota, admits he's ready to return to the sideline. Wouldn't it be great to have Adelman's successor on staff?
World view: Well, at least he'd be way better than Kahn.
Wolves view: Well, at least he'd be way better than Kahn.
Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • firstname.lastname@example.org