Jan 20, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders reacts during the game against the Denver Nuggets at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Flip Saunders Turns U Down

The Star Tribune has it:

It hasn’t yet been a week since Minnesota fired former coach Tubby Smith, and yet the state of Minnesota is starting to reach a mild level of panic after the fourth “candidate” that has surfaced in a span of five days reportedly has declined the Gophers.

ESPN’s Andy Katz reported via Twitter that the Gophers had offered the job to Saunders, but that the former Gophers player and Timberwolves coach declined.

Multiple reports Friday indicated that Saunders was the new leading candidate, and that the Minnesota athletic director was in Indianapolis – where Saunders was following Michigan State and buddy Tom Izzo – to speak with the current ESPN analyst.

Saunders has become a fan favorite for the job, but from what I have been told, does not have the profile that this administration was looking for.

I will say that I would be surprised if semantics got in the way of the hire. That’s to say, either Saunders wanted the job — and Teague wanted him — or one of them didn’t.

I will keep you updated on the ongoing story.

The reports that Flip was fronting an outstate group looking to purchase the Timberwolves give this news story a different spin. The panic is because Saunders’ decline was preceded by…

Minnesota had also targeted Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart, Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and Butler’s Brad Stevens to no avail, with Smart and Hoiberg agreeing to new contracts at their current schools.

That’s per ESPN. Combine that with other rumors that David Kahn is to return on a 1-year deal, and the situation for the Wolves this offseason and next year get a little bit more interesting. Speculation includes the possibility of Rick Adelman stepping away to spend time with his ailing wife — opening a coaching vacancy owner Glen Taylor would possibly float to Flip. Or maybe it’s the administration thing. It’s all speculative!

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