2:04pm: Money is just one of many stumbling blocks, Zgoda notes (via Twitter).
1:58pm: Del Negro indeed interviewed for the gig, but the team appears to have moved on from him, Krawczynski clarifies (on Twitter). There are no plans for him to speak with Taylor, according to Wolfson (Twitter link).
1:50pm: Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press hears the reports of Del Negro’s candidacy have “no legs” (Twitter links). Meanwhile Zgoda suggests that Del Negro is demanding more money than the Wolves would like to pay.
1:28pm: Del Negro has yet to speak with Taylor, Wolfson tweets, adding that Del Negro was indeed the “mystery candidate” he’d referred to earlier.
1:16pm: Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune casts doubt on Del Negro’s status as a “serious” candidate, though he does confirm that Del Negro interviewed for the job (Twitter link).
12:42pm: Vinny Del Negro has become a “serious candidate” for the Wolves coaching job, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. He interviewed with the Wolves last week, when it seemed the club was nearing a deal with Dave Joerger, Stein adds (Twitter link). Del Negro is set to speak with Cavs GM David Griffin about Cleveland’s opening, too. Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders met with Del Negro, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter).
Joerger’s reconciliation with the Grizzlies, who extended his deal, seemed to throw a wrench into Minnesota’s plans, but it appears as though Del Negro was a strong contender even as the Wolves flirted with the Memphis coach. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities suggested that there was a “mystery candidate” for the job, so it seems like Del Negro was that under-the-radar contender.
Saunders is fond of Del Negro, Wojnarowski tweets, but it remains to be seen if Wolves owner Glen Taylor shares those sentiments. Wojnarowski references Taylor’s affinity for Sam Mitchell, but Wolfson recently suggested the strength of Mitchell’s candidacy has been overstated. Stein, in a full piece on the story, writes that Mitchell isn’t exactly a slam dunk to get the job.
The Wolves see Del Negro as less of a coach who would convince Kevin Love to stay and more as one who could get the best out of Ricky Rubio, given his experience with Derrick Rose and Chris Paul, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Del Negro is 210-184 in parts of five seasons as an NBA head coach with the Bulls and Clippers, but his X’s and O’s came under widespread criticism during his time on the bench.
The Wolves have also interviewed Scott Skiles and Lionel Hollins, and while the possibility that Saunders will coach the team remains, he’s still focused on finding someone else to do the job, Stein writes.