9:33am: Izzo is still “very high” on Saunders’ list of candidates, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who seconds Zgoda’s take that the Michigan State coach’s denial of interest in taking an NBA job this year left some wiggle room (Twitter link).
FRIDAY, 9:02am: The Wolves haven’t yet abandoned their pursuit of Hoiberg, Wolfson tweets. That’s in spite of Saunders saying last week that Hoiberg wouldn’t be jumping to the NBA. Wolfson doesn’t expect the team to pursue Karl (Twitter link).
WEDNESDAY, 12:22pm: A source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that Stan Van Gundy won’t reciprocate the Timberwolves’ interest in him for their coaching vacancy, and Tom Izzo says he’s not jumping to the NBA this year. There are other candidates for the job, but the search has been slow-going, as Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reports.
The Wolves have been primarily eyeing college coaches, though top targets Izzo and, as we passed along earlier, Fred Hoiberg are apparently out of the running. There are candidates with NBA experience in the mix, too, including George Karl, and Wolfson hears that Karl would indeed have interest and is hoping that the Wolves contact him, contradicting an earlier report that he wouldn’t want the job. Still, the Wolves haven’t reached out to Karl or Lionel Hollins, another among the previously mentioned candidates for the position, Wolfson writes.
The Wolves wouldn’t have interest in Scott Brooks of the Thunder, if he came available, and Wolfson reiterates that Minnesota wouldn’t want Frank Vogel, either. Former Raptors coach Sam Mitchell would like the Wolves job, but Minnesota isn’t interested, Wolfson writes. The Wolves probably won’t go after Warriors assistant Lindsey Hunter, Wizards assistant Sam Cassell, or Rockets assistant J.B. Bickerstaff in spite of their ties to the organization, according to Wolfson.
President of basketball operations Flip Saunders is still a “name to monitor,” Wolfson writes, even though he’s downplayed the idea that he’d take over the coaching position. He’s said he’d “never say never” to the job on multiple occasions. Saunders and, even in his comments today, Izzo have been somewhat vague in their insistence that they won’t be on an NBA bench next season, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes (on Twitter).