HoopsHype Flip Saunders rumors

June 26, 2014 Updates
June 25, 2014 Updates

With the NBA draft bearing down on the process, the Celtics are knocking on a door that may be locked to not only them but the rest of the league, as well. There remains some possibility that Minnesota will trade Kevin Love by tomorrow night, but involved sources told the Herald that Timberwolves president of basketball operations, coach and part owner Flip Saunders is growing more entrenched that he should let things play out with his All-Star forward. Boston Herald

Love told the club he plans to exercise his opt-out and become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and, according to a source, he repeated that statement when told Saunders might be taking over the coaching reins. Boston Herald

Saunders, though, seems comfortable with putting off his nuclear options. As of yesterday, it seemed to be growing by the hour that Minnesota would be doing nothing more exciting than drafting tomorrow night. Still, sources hastened to add that such could change if the killer offer Saunders seeks comes through. Failing that, those same people are saying the club is better off standing pat, for now. (There is also talk that the club believes now it acted too hastily in trading Kevin Garnett to the Celts six years ago, missing the chance to get at least as much, if not more, by waiting to move him.) Boston Herald

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Earlier this week, new Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders said Kevin Love had no reason to feel frustrated over the team's future. On Wednesday, Love spoke with our own Aja Dang at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2014) in Los Angeles, where he was at Activation checking out the new "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare." And while there, he addressed his coach's remarks. "What some people don't know is that Flip and I have a great relationship, and we've been constantly speaking about my situation," Love said. "Flip is going to be a tremendous coach again for the Timberwolves; he did a great job last year with our team, even throughout all the injuries and different things that we had. But that's the way of Flip of getting people motivated, whether it's me or people you don't even know about. Am I happy he said those things? I think he's supposed to come out and say that because it's a team game, not about one singular player." FOXSports.com

June 11, 2014 Updates

I hear Sidney Lowe is in town, a visit that's a prelude to him joining Flip Saunders' staff as an assistant coach. It's not a done deal yet, but is expected to be sometime soon. Lowe was an assistant under Flip with the Wolves and Detroit, too. The former North Carolina State worked as an assistant to former Wolves teammate Ty Corbin at Utah this last season. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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Saunders appeared on KFAN 100.3 and spoke about Love. Host: “Doesn’t he have a right to be frustrated?” Saunders: “No.” Host: “You don’t think so?” Saunders: “Just like I told Garnett, he didn’t have a right to be frustrated. Why does any player have a right to be frustrated? You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.” Saunders: “Should the team be frustrated? Yeah, the team can be frustrated. But I don’t think any one individual should be frustrated.” NBCSports.com

June 6, 2014 Updates

A decision on the future of Love has not been made, Saunders said. He will no doubt make every effort to convince the All-Star forward to stay here. “We probably have 16 teams that have called us,” Saunders said, regarding interest in Love around the league. “We haven’t called anybody.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Regarding Love’s recent weekend visit to Boston, Saunders said he didn’t know if it had any connection with basketball. “I don’t think [the] Boston [Celtics] had anything to do with it. But I don’t know,” he said. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

The one exception in Saunders’ mind was if he could get a superstar coach to guide the Wolves. And Saunders said he tried, starting out with his former ESPN colleague Jeff Van Gundy. “The first guy that I went to and tried to get was Jeff Van Gundy. He was the first guy,” Saunders said Thursday, when word came out that he would coach the Wolves next season. “… He’s a guy that Glen and I were comfortable [with] and would have hired him off the bat. I feel like he’s the best coach, the best coach out there and has a lot of the same philosophies. “As Jeff said to me, I talked to him this morning, and he said, ‘Whenever I go somewhere I want to feel that I’m the right guy for that job.’ He said, ‘The reason I didn’t go to Minnesota was because I felt you were the right guy for the job, not me, and I was uncomfortable.’ ” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Saunders didn’t offer the job to Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger as reported, though they did have discussions. Joerger, a Staples, Minn., native, ended up signing a contract extension with the Grizzlies on May 27. “First of all, the interview process was interesting,” Saunders said. “We talked to a lot of people, a lot of good people. Some college guys, [Michigan State’s] Tom Izzo is a friend of mine, [Iowa State’s] Freddie Hoiberg. When you go through that situation they have things they want to do. To coach at [the NBA] level is difficult because there’s a lot of factors that get involved. So when it came down to it and we started going through everybody, I went to Glen this week and I said, ‘Here’s some options we have.’ Then Glen said, based on where our team is right now, I think you’re the best viable option to coach this team and move forward.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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