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Report: Kahn to be out, Flip Saunders to be in for Minnesota

Apr 26, 2013, 12:18 PM EDT

File photo of Washington Wizards coach Saunders during an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston Reuters

We told you there were rumors of this a couple months ago, possibly part of an ownership shift, but now it appears to be reality.

The era of David Kahn could be ending in Minnesota, with Flip Saunders coming in to replace him, reports Steve Aschburner at

Saunders, 58, has been negotiating a contract that, with option years, could run through the 2017-18 season and could be worth more than $9 million over the full five years, according to league sources who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the hiring.

The move, which could become official as soon as next week, would end David Kahn‘s controversial tenure after four seasons and an 89-223 record during which the Timberwolves’ failure to reach the playoffs stretched to nine consecutive seasons. Kahn’s contract includes a team option for 2013-14 that will not be exercised.

This is a bigger play than just a grab for the GM chair.

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor and Saunders had been meeting in recent weeks, with Taylor confirming a report in March that Saunders was representing a group of prospective buyers interested in purchasing the franchise. Taylor, who turned 72 last week, has been seeking a minority investor or investors who eventually could take over majority control of the club.

This is also about Kevin Love. He’s the best player on the Timberwolves and one of the faces of the franchise but he had a frosty relationship with Kahn. At the heart of the issue was Kahn not giving Love a fifth year on his contract extension because Kahn wanted to save that for Ricky Rubio (who Kahn had drafted).

Saunders already has and can build a better relationship with Love. Saunders needs to — Love can opt out in a couple years and if he does (or even says he will) it puts the Timberwolves in a tough situation. A friendlier GM and some wins on the court could keep Love satiated.

Kahn is one of the most mocked GMs by fans and media, and he earned that with some dizzyingly bad moves. Especially on draft night.

There was drafting Jonny Flynn right after picking Rubio (Flynn played last season in Australia) and not taking Stephen Curry (who went next). Kahn had the No. 4 pick in 2010 and took Wesley Johnson (instead of DeMarcus Cousins or Greg Monroe). He had the No. 2 pick in 2011 and took Derrick Williams (although that was a draft where the steals such as Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard were farther down the list, the top of that draft was soft).

To be fair, Kahn hired Rick Adelman and built what should have been a playoff team this season had Love not broken his hand. Twice. Combine that with Rubio coming off ACL surgery and a host of other injuries and you had a team that just never got a shot.

But this is a team on a precipice — it could become quite good over the next few years or everything could fall apart fast. Nobody in Minnesota really trusts Kahn to make another high draft pick this season and keep the team together and unified.

We’ll see if Saunders can, but it looks like he will get his shot.

  1. joeyashwi - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Good move for the Wolves. Kahn is terrible!

    • fanofevilempire - Apr 26, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      what killed the Timberwolves to this day is the punishment handed
      down by Stern in the Joe Smith contract fiasco, those draft picks they
      lost hurt them so bad during the time they had a young and peppy
      Kevin Garnett.

  2. henryd3rd - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    GM’s ain’t long for this world pissing off your superstar and drafting losers. Plus passing on two superstars, i.e., Steph Curry and DeMarcus Cousins will really hurt your resume’

  3. sportsnut101 - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Bye Kahn. U drafted poorly. U honestly thought Flynn was better then curry I didn’t no1. Else did either.

    Then u had Ty Lawson n traded him away for nothing. U shoulda been fired on the spot.

    Enough with the spurs Front office people only reason they so good. Is cuz they took Duncan

    • albertmn - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      I didn’t even read your whole comment. But, when anyone can’t use full words, clear sentences, or anything remotedly resembling correct English, that person will get a thumbs down from me.

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      I really hope you are under the age of 10. Actually never mind…. My grammar was never that poor even when I was young.

  4. nbascreed - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    “…what should have been a playoff team this season had Love”

    According to who? Even at full strength I don’t know that the Wolves were better than the Lake Show, Rockets or Warriors.

  5. bballnut50 - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    they were, quit crying and just admit it!!

  6. eugenesaxe - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Crap, now who’s going to sign all of Portland’s castoffs?

  7. saint1997 - Apr 26, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Do you think Flip will break the TWolves ethos and bring in some African American dudes?

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