NBA Rumor: Minnesota Timberwolves Coach

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Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, said he still wants to see a solid finish before determining interim head coach Ryan Saunders’ future. “I think he has a good chance [to get the job full-time],” Taylor said. “It’s like everything, we’re going to wait until we play out these last 20-some games and I think we’ll know and he’ll know at that time if it works out. But he is off to a good start. “I would just say I really like him as a person. I have known him since he was a young man, and I am really pleased with how he is starting out coaching this team.”

Glen Taylor certainly wishes Fred Hoiberg well. But the Minnesota Timberwolves owner isn’t directly pining for his former player and assistant general manager to be leading the Twin Cities charge in the NBA. Not now, anyway. Three days after firing coach Tom Thibodeau following a blowout victory, Taylor reiterated his support for interim coach Ryan Saunders in a scheduled interview with reporters in Des Moines on Wednesday. “We’ve hired Ryan to be the interim coach, and we’re going to give him the opportunity,” Taylor said.

“For people to send you messages as if you were going to be back and your staff was going to be back and we had everything going in the right direction, and to get a phone call [from owner Glen Taylor] two hours before your last game basically saying, ‘I’ve changed my mind and I’m going in a different direction,’ it just kind of knocked us all for a loop. We’ve all recovered from it and moved on but if you know Kevin, Kevin is very sensitive and he’s very loyal. And there was a lot of people in that organization that was let go, and the way it was done just left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouth.”

When I talked to Thibodeau on the phone Thursday, he verified that he didn’t talk to the search firm hired by Wolves owner Glen Taylor until Wednesday. … He also said he was not going to hire any assistants until he visits with the current Wolves staff. All of the assistant coaches under him in his last year coaching the Bulls got NBA jobs after Thibodeau was fired. His 2014-2015 staff included Adrian Griffin (now with Orlando), Andy Greer (Toronto), Ed Pinckney (Denver) and Mike Wilhelm, the only assistant Fred Hoiberg, Thibodeau’s successor, kept with the Bulls.

“Scott Layden brings over 30 years of experience in the NBA to his new role within our organization, including several years in basketball operations leadership positions with Utah, New York and most recently San Antonio. His decades of front office experience will be integral as we head into an extremely exciting time for our organization. In getting to know Scott, he has impressed me with his not only his basketball acumen, but also his character and integrity. Tom and Scott will work in concert together in shaping our roster moving forward. We are confident this partnership gives us the best chance possible of winning an NBA title.”

Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says the Minnesota Timberwolves are “very lucky” to be able to interview Jeff Van Gundy and former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau for their head-coaching vacancy. Stan, who is Jeff’s brother and a friend of Thibodeau’s, doesn’t think the close friends are “competing” against one another for the job. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported Monday that Jeff was expected to meet with the Timberwolves on Monday in regard to being both the coach and “face” of basketball operations. Thibodeau completed a similar interview over the weekend.

For his part, Stan doesn’t seem surprised that Jeff hasn’t coached a team in a while. Jeff last coached the Houston Rockets during the 2006-07 season. “I’m not surprised, because I talk to him all the time,” Stan said. “If I was taking the long view of, say, the media, that doesn’t know him and doesn’t talk to him all the time, yeah, I probably would be surprised. “But he’s got a great job. He has a great job, and it’s great for him, it’s great for his family. He’s happy. So it would take a lot. He misses some things about coaching, but it would take a lot. If he takes a job, it’s going to be one that he thinks was just a great, great, great situation. Way too good to turn down. He’s not going to take anything marginal, I’ll tell you that.”
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