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Saunders begins search for Timberwolves coach

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm •  Published: April 22, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Flip Saunders is a former coach himself, so he knows how coveted a head coaching job in the NBA can be.

The Timberwolves' president of basketball operations may also soon find out how difficult filling an opening can be as well.

Saunders started the search for a new coach in earnest on Tuesday, one day after Rick Adelman announced his retirement. It's a move that has been expected for some time, and Saunders has no doubt been kicking around possibilities. As a former coach, and a well-respected basketball mind, Saunders has a vast reservoir of contacts in the coaching fraternity, contacts that he will need to tap during a delicate search for a new leader.

Hanging over the process is Kevin Love's uncertain future in Minnesota. Love can opt out of his contract after next season. The possibility of losing the face of the franchise, one of the best power forwards in the game and a relentless worker who has improved every summer could give some coaches pause when considering Minnesota.

"Will that be a factor I don't know," Saunders said. "I do know anytime you can be in the NBA and have the opportunity to coach at this level, a lot of people would jump at that opportunity."

Saunders knows firsthand about allures of the position. He coached the Timberwolves for 10 years, leading them to the only eight playoff appearances in franchise history. He also coached in Detroit and Washington, and many believe he would like to return to the bench with the Wolves.

"I'm not going to answer that," Saunders said when asked if he could do both jobs. "You never know. Ideally right now we're going to do a search. The search isn't just coming to talk to me. We'll sit down and put together a list, see the interest those people have and we'll make decisions based on that."

Owner Glen Taylor has made it clear that he prefers Saunders, who also was given part-ownership status when he took the president job before last season, to remain in the front office and watch over the team's long-term planning while a coach monitors the day-to-day fortunes of the team.

Love is coming off of a career year, but he hasn't made the playoffs in his first six seasons in the league. Saunders has taken great pains to make Love feel welcome and valued in the organization, but Love has given no indication as to his future plans.

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