The Minnesota Timberwolves have made their new head coaching decision official, and it is a familiar face for Wolves fans. The Timberwolves have named Ryan Saunders the team’s next head coach according to the franchise’s official press release. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had the news first:
Ryan Saunders and Minnesota are nearing agreement on a multi-year deal to make him the Timberwolves coach, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 20, 2019
Saunders, the son of the late Flip Saunders, was named the interim head coach January 6 after the firing of Tom Thibodeau. Saunders, 33-years-old, has been an assistant with the Wolves since 2014.
“I want to thank Mr. Taylor and Gersson Rosas for the opportunity to be the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team and organization I have so much respect for,” Saunders said via the press release. “I look forward to building on what we established last season in terms of instilling a positive environment for our players to grow on and off the court. I’m excited to collaborate with Gersson and our staff to build a winning team that we can all be proud of.”
This is the first major hire for new Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas, who was himself hired from the Houston Rockets. “Ryan is an excellent communicator and has developed open and trusting relationships with our players,” Rosas said via the press release. “I’ve known Ryan for many years and have always respected his approach to the game, work ethic, basketball knowledge and passion. His coaching style and philosophies are ideal for the modern NBA and I am confident that as a partner he will get the most out of our players as we build an identity and a sustainable winning model.”
Ryan Saunders, who is the youngest coach in the NBA, went 17-25 last season in his interim tenure. The Timberwolves did their due diligence by interviewing both Juwan Howard and David Vanterpool, according to ESPN. Howard and Vanterpool have both interviewed for other positions around the league, but the Wolves decided to stick with the young Saunders.