Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Flip shuffles front office, fires five scouts today

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves management, Wolves news Updated: May 8, 2013 - 7:06 PM

They say the new guy always wants to bring in his own guys...

Well, Flip Saunders started to do that today.

He fired five scouts -- international scouting director/player personnel Pete Philo, regional scouts J.T. Prada, Curtis Crawford and Steve Gordon as well as special-assignment scout Will Conroy -- today in his first full week on the job as president of basketball operations.

All four either had contracts expiring thissummer and were working without contracts.

It looks like scouts with years remaining on their contracts -- Milt Barnes, Derek Pierce -- will remain.

How Flip re-makes that front office with just seven weeks left before a draft in which the Wolves will have two first-round picks and two second-rounders, well, we'll see.

The general manager's job is open as now is most of the scouting staff.

Flip said at his introductory press conference last week that he intends to re-work the scouting system, going away from the regional-scouting system that predecessor David Kahn set up.

Philo had been with the team the longest -- eight seasons -- and his knowledge in international scouting helped reshape the Wolves roster into one that's now filled with players and prospects from Europe and South America.

He ran the annual pre-draft EuroCamp for years -- and he had a young player named Alexey Shved there for three straight years.

The Wolves, of course, last summer signed Shved to a three-year contract..

He also was instrumental in wooing Ricky Rubio to sign with the Wolves after the team drafted him in June 2009 and influenced decisions to draft European players Nemanja Bjelica and Henk Norel as well as international prospects Paolo Prestes and Tanguy Ngombo.

Philo called himself a "little bit shook up" by the brief call from Saunders informing him today and said "what hurts most" is all the "great" seasons that wait ahead for a team he and fired president of basketball operations David Kakn helped assemble.

He said he is "very, very thankful" to the organization for the opportunity.

"It hurts to go through all those years, painful seasons, knowing we had a plan and things started to shape up,'" he said. "I'm very proud to be part of that. It was a lot of hard work and now not to be part of it..."

Flip, btw, spent much of today in meetings here with coach Rick Adelman when he wasn't on the phone firing guys today.

 

 

 

 

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