After the Minnesota Timberwolves opened up an external coaching search last week, it appears they’ve found the 11th full-time head coach in franchise history. The search led team President of Basketball Operations right back to where it began, with Ryan Saunders.
According to a report from The Athletic early Monday morning, Saunders and the Wolves are in the final stages of removing the interim tag.
The Timberwolves and Ryan Saunders are in negotiations to make him the permanent head coach, league sources tell @TheAthleticMIN
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) May 20, 2019
The team interviewed four external candidates this past week. With Rosas sitting down with Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham, New Orleans’ Chris Finch, and Miami’s Juwaun Howard in person at the NBA Combine. Portland’s David Vanterpool interviewed for the position via telephone according to SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson.
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) May 18, 2019
Saunders, 33, led the injury-plagued Wolves to a 17-25 record as interim coach in the wake of Tom Thibodeau’s firing. He becomes the youngest full-time head coach in the NBA, as he’s six years younger than Sacramento’s Luke Walton.
In his 42-game stint as coach of the Wolves, he was forced to deal with a number of injuries, including a knee injury to Robert Covington that led him to not play a single game with Saunders at the helm.
The hiring of Saunders wasn’t the only move made by Rosas on Monday morning. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wolves are hiring Brooklyn’s Gianluca Pascucci to the assistant general manager position. There hasn’t been word on whether or not general manager Scott Layden will retain his job or not.
Minnesota is hiring Brooklyn’s Gianluca Pascucci has an assistant GM, league sources tell ESPN. Pascucci was the Nets Director of Global Scouting and had previously worked closely with new Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas with Houston.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 20, 2019