Changes to way that Flip Saunders‘ body has responded to chemotherapy for Hodgkins’ Lymphoma have placed him in a life-threatening situation, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, who writes in a chat with readers. The team called the ailment a “very treatable and curable form of cancer” in August, when it announced his diagnosis along with the news that Saunders would continue his duties as head coach and president of basketball operations. A shift occurred last month, when Saunders took a leave of absence. The team said at that point that he’d experienced complications related to the treatments he was receiving and that he was undergoing tests and further treatment at a hospital.
Zgoda suggests that doctor might have found more cancer in Saunders. The scribe also speculates that Saunders won’t return to coach at all and that a decent chance exists he won’t return to his executive role either, though he labels those ideas as opinion. GM Milt Newton is running the front office and assistant coach Sam Mitchell is the interim head coach, but Zgoda finds it difficult to envision owner Glen Taylor allowing either to make major decisions until the future of Saunders is sorted out.
Saunders, 60, received his cancer diagnosis in June but continued to work for about another three months. Taylor affirmed in mid-June, around the time of the diagnosis but before it became publicly known, that Saunders was to remain the team’s coach, dismissing speculation that he would drop back to an executive-only role. Saunders owns a minority share in the franchise.