Kahn out, Saunders in as Timberwolves president

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 3, 2013 - 10:43 AM

David Kahn’s contract has not been renewed and the Wolves will replace him with former head coach Flip Saunders as president of basketball operations


Flip Saunders will be named president of basketball operastions for the Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves fired President of Basketball Operations David Kahn on Thursday and will replace him with former coach Flip Saunders, who added an additional title: part owner.

Saunders told ESPN — for whom he is doing NBA studio commentary this season — that he has signed a multiyear contract to manage the Wolves that includes minority ownership in a team that owner Glen Taylor put on the market last summer, but recently said he now has no intention of selling.

Saunders, who coached the team from 1995 to 2005 before he was fired, will be reintroduced at a 10:30 a.m. news conference Friday at Target Center.

Taylor declined to exercise a fifth and final option year on the contract Kahn signed when he was hired to replace Kevin McHale in May 2009, ending four provocative seasons as the Wolves’ top basketball decision-maker.

Taylor thanked Kahn and wished him well in a statement released by the team.

“These are always difficult decisions,” Taylor said. “But at this time, we believe it is in the best interest of our organization to make a change.”

Kahn spoke by phone with Taylor on Thursday, the same day he returned from a brief European scouting trip. Kahn said he accepted the news with “a mixture of disappointment, sadness and frankly, a little bit of relief.”

Kahn leaves a team he termed “very distressed” when he was hired and now considers is bound for “great success,” one he believed was playoff-ready each of the past two seasons if not for a staggering list of injuries that included everything from Ricky Rubio’s season-ending knee surgery a year ago to Kevin Love’s twice-broken hand to the health issues of the wife of coach Rick Adelman.

“I’ve been in a lot of hospital rooms the last 14 months,” Kahn said. “This has been an unbelievable challenge, the injuries we’ve had starting with Ricky that night in March [2012] and it just never stopped. You just never anticipate living your life this way, where you’re just constantly receiving bad news.”

Bright future?

Kahn said he believes he is leaving the franchise “with the most talented roster in its history.” That history includes the 2003-04 team built around league MVP Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell that reached the Western Conference finals.

The Wolves have not made the playoffs since.

“It’s a good, deep, young, talented team that’s positioned to be in the playoffs, not just next year but many years to come,” Kahn said. “We have a pretty good team. It just got hurt. If the team had maintained its health, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but it didn’t maintain its health.”

Kahn called Rubio and Love two “foundational players” and potential Hall of Famers whom the franchise can build around for the next “seven to 10 years.”

Provided, of course, that Love doesn’t opt out of his contract and leave the team in 2015, an option he was given during contentious contract-extension negotiations in January 2012. The deal left Love bitter despite signing a four-year, $61 million-plus deal because Kahn and Taylor didn’t give him a special fifth “designated player” year that would have guaranteed him about $80 million.

Love expressed his displeasure with the way Kahn handled that matter nearly a year later in a Yahoo! Sports interview in which he questioned Kahn’s vision for the franchise and suggested he had a long memory when he feels he isn’t treated justly.

Kahn has more than once downplayed his relationship with Love, calling it unimportant compared with Love’s relationships with players and coaches. He said he had “very productive” conversations with Love as this past season wound down.

When asked if he thought his relationship with Love impacted Taylor’s decision, Kahn said: “I doubt it, you’d have to ask Glen. My feelings toward Kevin, frankly, I really like him. … We handled it the best way we can and I handled it per instructions from the owner.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local team are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question