With Saunders inserted as the new head coach, the Timberwolves must make a decision on Kevin Love's future.
Yesterday, ESPN’s Marc Stein broke the news that Flip Saunders will be taking over head coaching duties for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves have been trying to replace Rick Adelman since late April when he retired from his post. This effort even included an attempt to poach Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger. Numerous other candidates have been implicated in the Timberwolves search but it seems that thy eventually settled on a familiar option in Saunders.
Saunders coached the Timberwolves for 10 season between 1995 and 2005, leading them to 8 successive post-seasons, the only post-season appearances in franchise history. Minnesota have not returned to the play-offs since Saunders penultimate season and will be hoping that Saunders can guide them out of NBA purgatory once more.
Saunders will retain his role as the Timberwolves president or basketball operations, giving him the same power as figures such as Stan Van Gundy in Detroit and Doc Rivers in L.A. It seems the hope is that with a foot in both the front office and on the court, Saunders can help give the Timberwolves a definite direction for the future.
This direction may be a difficult one to identify, however, given the uncertainty surrounding Kevin Love’s future in Minneapolis. Not one week ago we were hearing Saunders tell reporters that he expects Kevin Love to be in Minnesota next year while Love spent his weekend in Boston meeting up with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
Saunders’ most pressing concern must be addressing this situation. Whether this involves attempting to persuade Love to stay in Minnesota or acknowledging that Love must be traded in order to recoup maximum value for the star power forward, nothing is of more importance for the future of the Timberwolves organization.
Should Love change his heart and decide to stay in Minnesota, Saunders can focus on putting together a roster tailored specifically to his and Love’s intentions while should he leave, Saunders can hit the reset button and attempt to bring the Timberwolves back into relevance as soon as possible.