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Northwest Notes: Saunders, Pekovic, Hunt

Timberwolves team owner Glen Taylor said his team would be healthier in the long run if it signed a top-notch coach who would allow Flip Saunders to concentrate on his duties as president of basketball operations, but Taylor wouldn’t object if Saunders stayed on as coach for the immediate future, Sid Hartman of The Star Tribune writes. “I’d like to hire a very good coach [for the long term],” Taylor said. “I haven’t talked about it with Flip as far as next year, but if he wanted to coach he certainly would be allowed to coach.”

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • With surgery scheduled for his injured right Achilles tendon, Wolves center Nikola Pekovic is concerned about his career, Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune writes. “Of course I am [worried],’’ Pekovic said. “I’m pretty much worrying about how this is going to affect my life in 10 years. I mean, I’m still thinking about basketball [too]. But when you deal so much with something like this….It’s a big deal, I think.’’
  • Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt gives his assistants much of the credit for keeping the team afloat throughout all the season’s turmoil, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. “It’s a lot of stuff, but it’s manageable,” Hunt said. “I think when you put things in perspective, and you prioritize things and you have good people working with you — I’ve got Noel Gillespie who has a wealth of experience, I’ve got Patrick Mutombo, who is a quick study. So this really helps me as a coach. I don’t feel overwhelmed or that there’s so much coming at me at one time because my guys are catching a lot of that, and that helps.”
  • Rookie Andrew Wiggins has come a long way in his development since the beginning of the season, Frank Zicarelli of The Toronto Sun writes. Saunders is still trying to get more out of his star player, but acknowledges how difficult this season has been for the young Canadian swingman, Zicarelli adds. “He’s playing in a situation where, because we’ve been so undermanned, that he’s the guy,” Saunders said. “Like [Monday night versus the Jazz], when he got the ball, they had three people over there guarding him. But this will help him when we can surround him with more veteran guys.

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