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Report: Sam Mitchell emerges as Timberwolves coaching candidate with Kevin Love’s future undecided

May 18, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Toronto Raptors v Orlando Magic, Game Five Getty Images

The Timberwolves have been methodical about their coaching search to this point, and with good reason. Not only is the upcoming season critical to the franchise’s future fortunes, with Kevin Love able to leave at its conclusion to become an unrestricted free agent, but beyond that, the person they hire must show enough leadership and promise that even if next year were to once again go south, Love can believe that the proper building blocks for winning were put into place.

The uncertain future of the franchise has indeed hampered the pursuit of a head coach, but a legitimate candidate has appeared to emerge, and its one with previous ties to the Timberwolves organization.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

As the Minnesota Timberwolves consider the future of All-Star forward Kevin Love, Sam Mitchell has emerged as a serious candidate for the franchise’s head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Mitchell left a good impression with Wolves president Flip Saunders in a recent meeting and has moved himself into consideration for the job, league sources said. …

Mitchell has a strong history with Saunders and Minnesota, where he had two stops as a player — 1989-1992 and 1995-2002. Mitchell played for Saunders in his second stint.

Mitchell coached the Toronto Raptors for four full seasons and won coach of the year in 2007, before being replaced early in the 2008-09 season.

Minnesota checked in with some top college coaches to gauge their interest, the report says, but guys like Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo and Fred Hoiberg weren’t jumping at the opportunity to leave cushy college gigs to take on the reclamation project that would exist should Love bolt in free agency.

A report from the New York Daily News stated that Love’s “people” continue to make it clear to the Timberwolves that if he isn’t traded next season, he will in fact be gone once it is finished. Wojnarowski’s sources are telling him the same thing.

Beyond the coaching search, the Wolves are under pressure to start considering trade scenarios for Love, who’s anxious to exercise his Early Termination Option (ETO) in the summer of 2015 and leave as a free agent, league sources said.

“For the first time, [Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option,” one rival executive told Yahoo Sports.

Depending on just how seriously the Timberwolves are taking these reported overtures, it’s possible we could see a draft day deal involving Love, considering how loaded with talent this year’s class is, along with the fact that the franchise could sell the future to its fan base should it land one of the top three players in exchange for sending Love out of town.

But despite the recent reports, that’s never been Minnesota’s preference. The plan all along has been to try to put pieces around Love to make the Timberwolves into a playoff team, and one that he believes is built for winning over time. If that mission fails, however, it appears as though the team is finally ready to at least consider a future without Love as part of the picture.

  1. duhwighthoward - May 18, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Another horrible player being considered to head coach.

    • genericcommenter - May 18, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      He wasn’t a horrible player, and you may have noticed the best coach(es) being an NBA role player.

      • pbtunpaidwriter - May 18, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        Very few good to great players are good coaches. The game is so easy to them that they don’t have the grit and grind mentality of a previous role player.

        Imagine Kobe or MJ coaching. They’d lose their patience in 10 minutes and quit. The one exception is Larry Bird who was a pretty good coach.

      • duhwighthoward - May 18, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        You people are nuts. Phil Jackson was the best player in the history of his state. Riley was a baller. Bill Russell played and coached at the same time and won championships. Larry Brown was an all-star. George Karl was the man back when he played. Jerry Sloan too. I don’t know about Popovich’s b-ball skills but something tells me he was a grade above all these guys who’s own mothers didn’t want to watch them play.
        Earl Watson, Sam Mitchell, Tyrone Corbin, Adrian Griffin, and the list goes on!

    • asimonetti88 - May 18, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      He wasn’t a horrible player. He was a questionable coach though.

      • duhwighthoward - May 18, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        You think every horrible player was awesome. Name one memorable play from his career.

      • asimonetti88 - May 18, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        You don’t play 13 years in the NBA if you are a horrible player. He’s the Timberwolves’ second all-time leading scorer.

  2. cowboysfaninbuffalove - May 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Why George Karl is not be considered is beyond me his fast paced style would fit perfectly with the Timberwolves roster. But that’s probably why the Wolves havent done anything since Garnett left

  3. therealhtj - May 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Oh yeah, another 9 seed will definitely get Love to change his tune.

  4. jimsjam33 - May 18, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Re-Tread !

  5. campcouch - May 18, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    teams are really reaching for coaches now,but then again,options in the NBA are limited.

  6. ray9mansett - May 18, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Well, it appears that D. Sterling’s minions have spoken and confirmed their ignorance with their “suspect” and “black ” comments. Good thing you racist perras don’t have the heart to state your true names. Punks.

  7. ray9mansett - May 18, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    I refuse to go tit for tat about your base & baseless comments, Jr. The facts are, Jr., that you have no facts, only racist, uniformed azz-jack opinions filled with jealousy. Why? Because you are not where Mitchell or these Black coaching candidates, nor have the ability to live the lives they do. You’re most likely in the 10th grade, living in a used trailer sleeping with your girlfriend, uhh, cousin.
    Furthermore, my Mom is home chilling because your moms is cooking those Walmart pigfeet for your inbred family. Enjoy the gift.

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