Pete Philo Rumors

New Timberwolves boss Flip Saunders went to work Wednesday, reshaping his front office by firing five scouts when he wasn’t holding all-day meetings with coach Rick Adelman. Saunders fired scouts who were working without a contract or whose contract was due to expire this summer and retained scouts who have years remaining on their contracts. Gone are international scouting director Pete Philo, regional scouts J.T. Prada, Curtis Crawford and Steve Gordon and special-assignment scout Will Conroy. Regional scouts Milt Barnes, who briefly was an assistant coach alongside Saunders with the Gophers in the mid-1980s, and Derek Pierce will remain.
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…”
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.
The Timberwolves director of international scouting has traveled to the tiny country wedged between Serbia and the Adriatic Sea about 10 times. Each time, he’s been struck by the size of the people he sees in the narrow, European streets of its capital, Podgorica. “It’s a region of very tall people,” Philo said. “I don’t know, some areas of the world produce different types of players. It’s in the food, and that’s the truth. … In Montenegro, when I walk down the street in Podgorica, it seems like everyone is 6-5 or 6-8, 6-10. You see just people tall and long walking all over the place, and you’re wondering if it’s other basketball players or what they are.”