While Rick Adelman retired from coaching over a month ago, the Timberwolves are still in the process of searching for their next head coach.
The Dave Joerger situation has been resolved, though probably not in the way Minnesota would have liked. With Joerger staying in Memphis, the Timberwolves' search for a head coach must continue.
While several different names have been linked with the job, the Timberwolves seem determined to take their time over the decision meaning that we may not know who will be coaching the 2014/2015 Timberwolves for a while yet.
With that in mind, here are some of the possible candidates the Timberwolves will be considering:
When Adelman first stepped down the Karl was one of the first names banded about as a potential replacement. As an esteemed NBA coach it is unsurprising that Karl was linked with the job. With over 1,000 wins in 25 seasons as an NBA coach what is surprising is that Flip Saunders, the Timberwolves GM, has not yet reached out to Karl. While it seems that Minnesota are looking in other directions, it would be foolish to rule out Karl as a potential candidate given his experience and proven track record.
As the GM, Saunders is far from the first option on the Timberwolves list but he is likely the last. If the Timberwolves fail to find the ideal candidate it would make sense for them to look internally, should Saunders be willing to take the job. Saunders first tenure as an NBA head coach came as the Timberwolves lead man, guiding them to the play-offs in all but his first and last season in Minnesota. Saunders is an unlikely outcome but a good safety net for the Timberwolves to fall back on should they need to.
Given that negotiations with the current Memphis Grizzlies coach fell through perhaps the Timberwolves will turn to his predecessor. Hollins did a sterling job with the Grizzlies in his 5-season stint, increasing his win-loss percentage in every season he was at the helm and his dismissal was more a product of tension between himself and the organisation. The Grizzlies were known for their defensive tenacity while Hollins was head coach, something the Timberwolves are in desperate need of if they intend on making the play-offs next season. Minnesota finished in the bottom half of the league for opponent’s field goal percentage from every zone on the floor except the right corner three-point zone. This is something that Hollins could come in and improve on immediately.
The links being made between Mitchell and the Timberwolves make a lot of sense. Mitchell spent 10 of his 13 seasons as a player in Minnesota and played under Flip Saunders during his second stint in Minneapolis. Has a head coach Mitchell is somewhat of an unknown quantity compared to the aforementioned names. In 6 seasons as the Toronto Raptors head coach Mitchell took charge of 345 games, finishing with a 156-189 overall record. He led the Raptors to the play-offs twice in this time, winning the NBA Coach of the Year award in 2006/2007, though he never progressed past the first round of the play-offs. While this appointment would make sense from a familiarity point of view, Mitchell is an unknown quantity and seems like a gamble for a team that is desperate to break its 10 year play-off draught.
Vinny Del Negro:
While Del Negro is also relatively inexperienced, he has been in the spotlight far more than Mitchell. Del Negro received his first head coaching job in 2008 when he was made the head coach of the Chicago Bulls. In his two seasons with Chicago Del Negro won exactly half of his regular season games and was knocked out of the play-offs in the first round in both years, leading to his dismissal in 2010. He was then picked up by the LA Clippers where he did a considerably better job, leading them to the Western Conference semi-finals in the 2011/2012 season and then a franchise high 56-26 regular season record the year after. Unfortunately, Del Negro’s lack of post-season success cost him his job. At this point, Del Negro is looking like the front-runner for the Timberwolves’ job as it has been reported that Saunders is becoming “increasingly intrigued” by Del Negro’s candidacy.