April 10, 2019 / 2:11 PM / 9 days ago

Report: Timberwolves to retain interim coach Saunders

The Minnesota Timberwolves plan to offer interim coach Ryan Saunders a multiyear deal as early as this week, league sources told ESPN.

FILE PHOTO: Apr 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head interim coach Ryan Saunders looks on during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Saunders, 32, is the youngest head coach in the league. He took over when Tom Thibodeau was fired in early January and he has earned the endorsement of his players, most notably from All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Timberwolves are 36-45 entering Wednesday night’s season finale at Denver, including a 17-24 mark under Saunders’ leadership.

Saunders will reportedly receive a three-year deal with a team option on the final season.

Saunders had been an assistant coach with Minnesota since 2014, after serving as an assistant with the Washington Wizards from 2009-14.

Saunders’ father, Flip, was the head coach of the Timberwolves from 1995-2005 and again in 2014-15. Flip Saunders guided the team to eight straight playoff appearances.

ESPN also reported that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor plans to retain general manager Scott Layden, who has been with the team since 2016.

On Wednesday, the team announced it was starting its search for a president of basketball operations, a position that has been vacant since Thibodeau’s dismissal.

“In the absence of Tom, I want to thank all who picked up his responsibilities this past year. This includes Interim Head Coach Ryan Saunders, General Manager Scott Layden and our entire basketball staff for their efforts leading our team through the 2018-19 season,” Taylor said in a statement. “They worked through a season with many injuries requiring many challenges in our player lineup. We are incredibly grateful to them for all of their hard work and commitment to the franchise.”

—Field Level Media

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