Minneapolis, MN, United States (4E Sports) – Flip Saunders has agreed to a multiyear contract to replace David Kahn as Timberwolves president of basketball operations and will be receiving a minority ownership stake in the team.
Saunders, 58, has been working as an NBA analyst for ESPN and recently turned down overtures to coach at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota.
He has coached three NBA teams, including the Timberwolves beginning the 1995-96 season, when it posted a 411-326 win-loss mark and reached the playoffs eight straight times.
They lost in the first round seven times before reaching the 2004 Western Conference finals.
Saunders was fired during the 2004-05 season, but he has maintained a good relationship with Taylor.
Kahn was not given any a specific reason by Wolves owner Glen Taylor why the option year in his contract was not picked up.
“He feels very badly, I think, because of the injuries that we’ve had,” Kahn said. “There’s only so much that could have been done the last 14 months. The team just became decimated.
Kahn, 51, said he was disappointed in Taylor’s decision.
He recalled that when he got the job, people were telling him he’ll never get free agents and talent. He said now he had overturned the atmosphere completely around.
Kahn ran the Wolves’ operation for four seasons, during which the team was 89-223 and never reached the playoffs. But he said Thursday he is leaving behind a team “well positioned to be a force to be reckoned with.”
The Wolves finished 31-51 this season and Kahn said there was not much to do to improve it because of the injuries.
Kahn did well in bringing point guard Ricky Rubio, forward Andrei Kirilenko and coach Rick Adelman, but blundered in hiring coach Kurt Rambis and drafting point guard Jonny Flynn at no. 6 in 2009 and Wesley Johnson at no. 4 in 2010.