Hartman: Wolves owner Taylor rights two wrongs by bringing back Saunders

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 3, 2013 - 6:41 AM

Glen Taylor made a mistake eight years ago by firing Flip Saunders, and another by hiring David Kahn as GM.

Glen Taylor didn’t become a billionaire by making a lot of mistakes in business. The Timberwolves owner has been successful in most every venture he has touched.

But he made one bad move when it comes to the basketball team he owns when he fired Flip Saunders as coach on Feb. 12, 2005, after the team had gone to the Western Conference finals the previous season.

Now after making another mistake in hiring David Kahn as general manager and president of basketball operations, Taylor is looking to rectify both errors by bringing Saunders back in place of Kahn.

The move isn’t a surprise because Taylor has admitted that he has been in contact with Saunders during the season looking for ways to make the franchise successful. The Wolves haven’t made the playoffs since Saunders’ firing.

Taylor is ready to make amends for that mistake in firing Saunders and is bringing him back as GM.

There also is a possibility that Saunders might be able to put a group together to buy the team, something he has been working on. Taylor always has had respect for Saunders’ ability to judge talent, and in a recent conversation Taylor talked about how he ranks Saunders as one of the best in the business at doing that.

The Wolves had got off to a bad start in the 2004-05 season, and one of the reasons for that was contract problems with Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell, two players who had been big reasons for their success the prior year.

I got the news of Saunders’ firing on the radio while on a bus on my way home from Ames, Iowa, after a basketball game between Iowa State and Bob Knight’s Texas Tech team. Everybody in the bus, which was chartered by local sportsman Marty Davis, could not believe it.

The word was that Taylor was informed that Kevin Garnett had said Saunders had lost control of the team, and for that reason Saunders was dismissed and Kevin McHale took over as coach.

Saunders had taken the Wolves to the playoffs eight times in nine seasons, and all of a sudden he had lost control of the team? It made no sense, and Saunders promptly showed he was still a coach in demand when the Pistons hired him as coach that summer.

There was another surprise firing by the Pistons after the 2007-08 season, despite taking that team to the Eastern Conference finals, where Detroit lost to the Celtics.

His next job was rebuilding a terrible Wizards squad, and he lasted three years with Washington before being fired in January 2012.

Yes, Taylor got a big break when Saunders didn’t land the Gophers coaching job.

With Saunders on board, the Wolves once again will be a playoff contender like they were during his coaching tenure.

College teammates

Since Rick Spielman became the Vikings general manager in 2012, one of the constants of their two drafts under him has been the selection of college teammates in the same draft — often even selecting teammates who have played in the same offensive or defensive unit.

Last year, the Vikings selected Matt Kalil with the fourth overall pick in the first round and then took his Southern California teammate and blocking partner Rhett Ellison in the fourth round. In that round, they also selected Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, both wide receivers from Arkansas. They also selected safety Harrison Smith in the first round and cornerback Robert Blanton in the fifth, both defensive backs out of Notre Dame.

That trend continued this year. The Vikings selected two linebackers out of Penn State, Gerald Hodges in the fourth round and Michael Mauti in the seventh.

  • related content

  • MINNESOTA TOPICS: Glen Taylor

    Find the latest news and information about Glen Taylor.

  • Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 3rd Prd 4:53
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which is your favorite 'return' by a Minnesota athlete?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close