Saunders eager to work with Wolves coach Adelman

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 4, 2013 - 12:55 AM

Former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, in his new role as general manager, is excited to collaborate with the present coach.

 

 

Somebody asked Flip Saunders the other day to name his most exciting moment in a lifetime of basketball and the guy who formally returned to the Timberwolves on Friday after eight years away without hesitation chose an unforgettable Game 7 playoff victory over Sacramento in 2004.

“Best time I ever had,” he said. “Very ironic that the two coaches happened to be Rick Adelman and myself, and now we’re teammates and we’re together.”

On Friday, the Wolves named their former coach the team’s president of basketball operations — not to mention a minority owner as well — to replace the fired David Kahn and lead a team that expects Adelman to return as coach next season.

“There are not many organizations that can say they have two people who have over 1,600 wins in the NBA,” Saunders said.

And now one of them has been hired to run an NBA front office for the first time in his career.

Saunders shuffled around the question when asked if he is done with coaching now that he is leaving an ESPN commentary job for an executive’s job.

“As coaches, we always coach,” Saunders said during his reintroductory news conference. “I’ve been coaching the last year on ESPN. Right now, as I’ve said, Rick’s our coach. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him.”

Wolves owner Glen Taylor called upon an old friend when he decided not to renew the final option year on Kahn’s five-year contract signed in May 2009. He brought back a guy he now regrets firing in 2005, a guy who, while coaching in the CBA, was one of the first people to contact Taylor looking for a job when he bought the team in 1994.

Saunders this time signed a five-year contract that Taylor said he hopes extends beyond that. The owner said there wasn’t “just one thing that did it’’ in deciding to let Kahn go.

“The final result was I thought it was time to make a change,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he had a list of eight candidates — including 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson — compiled for the job but never called any of them because he already had decided Saunders was the right man for the job.

The two men have talked regularly for the past 10 months, during which Saunders was part of two separate groups interested in buying the team. Through their conversations, both discovered that Taylor really didn’t want to sell the team at all.

On Friday, Taylor announced he’s now buying out any willing limited partners and not selling; at the same time Saunders bought a piece of the franchise himself because he said he believes in Taylor as well as the financial future of the NBA, the team and the city.

Adelman not threatened

Saunders assumes at age 58 a management job he has not done since he was a coach/general manager during his Continental Basketball Association days long ago. He said he is prepared for a new part of his career because of that CBA experience, his two decades’ experience in the NBA and a finance degree earned at the University of Minnesota.

“Rick is my coach and Flip is not my coach, and I wanted that very clear,” Taylor said. “I’m not hiring Flip to be the coach.”

Saunders and Adelman talked by phone for about 90 minutes before Saunders was hired and they chatted again for about 45 minutes Friday afternoon.

  • related content

  • Scoggins: Remorseful Taylor buys in to keeping Timberwolves

    Saturday May 4, 2013

    On May 4 last year, Taylor disclosed that he wanted to sell the Timberwolves in a transitional process. On Friday, Taylor announced he’s turning the “opposite direction”

  • Kahn out; Saunders to replace him as Wolves president

    Friday May 3, 2013

    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

  • EXIT INTERVIEW: David Kahn

    On the night he was let go by the Timberwolves, David Kahn gave Star Tribune basketball writer Jerry Zgoda an...

  • Chart: Flip Saunders at a glance

    Friday May 3, 2013

    Flip Saunders At a glanceAge: 58As a player: Averaged 32 ppg as high school senior at Cuyahoga Heights — a...

  • He said it: Select quotes from Flip Saunders' press conference

    Friday May 3, 2013

    Quotable“I’ve made a lot of great decisions in my life. … Occasionally I’ve made a wrong decision, and perhaps supporting...

  • The wolves held a press conference at the Target Center skyway concour...

  • The wolves held a press conference at the Target Center skyway concour...

  • Glen Taylor made it very clear Friday what Flip Saunders’ role is. ‘‘Rick is my coach, and Flip is not my coach. I’m not hiring Flip to be the coach.’’

  • 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 FINAL
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