Latest On Wolves Coaching Candidates

April 23 at 12:41pm CDT By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 12:41pm: Saunders reiterated his “never say never” approach to the idea of coaching the team, but said he doesn’t envision that scenario playing out as he spoke on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” this morning (transcription via Marc Stein of ESPN.com). He did say his experience as a coach will allow the team to take its time with the search, since he’ll be able to oversee offseason training and development schedules for the players while the position remains open.

MONDAY, 2:58pm: Saunders poured cold water on the idea of Hoiberg’s candidacy for the job, telling Chad Hartman of WCCO-AM that, “He’s [Fred] not at a point where he’s ready to move to the NBA. That’s not happening,” as Wolfson notes via Twitter. Saunders also wouldn’t hire Frank Vogel were the Pacers coach to become available, Wolfson tweets.

1:21pm: Stein suggests that Donovan, Hoiberg and Izzo would all listen to entreaties from the Wolves, but the ESPN.com scribe acknowledges that it would be an uphill battle to convince any of them to take the job. There are mixed signals on whether Saunders wants to coach, and whether Taylor would allow him to, according to Stein, altering the narrative from previous reports about the idea. Stein also points to the lengthy search that Saunders is planning as reason that Van Gundy and brother Jeff Van Gundy may emerge as serious candidates.

1:03pm: A source close to Donovan tells Wolfson that while the Florida coach would consider the NBA, he doubts he’d go to Minnesota (Twitter link).

11:14am: University of Florida coach Billy Donovan is drawing interest from the Wolves as they search for a new head coach, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, while Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports adds former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins to the list of candidates. Sam Amick of USA Today suggests George Karl is also a candidate, though last season’s NBA Coach of the Year reportedly wouldn’t have interest.

President of basketball operations Flip Saunders suggested today that the team will conduct an extensive search that might not be complete in time for the June 26th draft, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). He mentioned experience and clout as criteria he’s looking for in a new sideline boss, observes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Saunders said “never say never” about the notion that he’d become the next coach of the team, or that the Wolves might trade for a coach, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Saunders reportedly would like to coach the team, but owner Glen Taylor doesn’t want anyone to have the top front office and coaching responsibilities at the same time. Fred Hoiberg, Tom Izzo and Stan Van Gundy have also drawn mention as potential Wolves targets, though all three appear to be longshots. Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio identified Suns assistant coach Jerry Sichting as a “name to really watch” in regard to the Wolves opening.

Donovan accepted the Magic’s head coaching job in 2007, but quickly backed out. He said in late 2012 that he wouldn’t rule out an eventual jump to the NBA. Hollins appeared to be a candidate for the Pistons coaching job after they fired Maurice Cheeks at midseason, and he had interest in that job. The team still hasn’t named a permanent head coach, with interim coach John Loyer having served as the team’s bench boss for the remainder of the season. It’s unclear if Hollins remains a candidate in Detroit.

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