January 4, 2012; Orlando FL, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders reacts during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. The Magic won 103-85. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Flip (Saunders) Mode’s the Greatest


In the name of the proper digestion of the onslaught of interviews and Q&As offered to Wolves fans in the last week, I’m going to be offering small plates of the juiciest, tenderest, metaphor stretching-est bunches here.

Flip’s opening statement at the Timberwolves reintroduction press conference last week was as much a reflection of the cold meritocracy that is the leave no stone unturned, best man for the job, bleeding edge of inovation that is Glen Taylor’s NBA franchise.

The white flag of accountability-seeking Twin Cities journalism was wagging in the wind. Granted, we’re talking sports journalism, but this is the equivalent of a man standing in front of a crowd waving his arms shouting, “HEY, YOU GUYS, LOOK — I’M ONE OF YOU!!!” expecting and then being handed a free pass.

The turn back in time Flip Saunders arrival as the Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations offers fans is a many splendored thing.

For instance, I would never have had this Busta video pop in my head if not for being forced to consider this hire.

Forgive me for sounding old, but they just don’t make them like that anymore.

It’s gonna be an interesting ride.

“First of all I will say this, when I left the house, my son Ryan said, ‘Dad keep your comments SportsCenter comments. Short and Sweet.’ So I’m not going to try and take up too much time. I do want to thank Glen for this opportunity. You know it’s really interesting because last night when I was thinking about writing down a few notes. I thought 40 years ago when I came here as an 18-year-old skinny kid playing in Minnesota, I’m sure that Patrick Reusse, Charley Walters and Sid Hartman, Bob Sansevere all of them thought ‘how is this guy going to play in the Big Ten.’

The biggest thing about that, those are relationship t hat were formed that became long lasting relationships. And as I said to Ryan, I said ‘that’s what makes Minnesota so special.’ Whether it’s Pat Reusse of course when he covered us at the ‘U’, there were always talks. Sid Hartman, I don’t know if it was legal or not, but he’d pick up me, Mychal Thompson, and Mark and we’d go to Oak Ridge and have a buffet. Or should I say destroy the buffet table out there on Sundays. So those are relationships that formed and have always lasted. Working for ESPN, when I’d go there and work they’d say, ‘Well, where do you live at?’ A lot of times, just other anchors and I say, ‘I live in Minnesota.’ They’d say ‘Why Minnesota? You can live anywhere you want to live.’ And I’d say ‘Well, you don’t really understand unless you’re from Minnesota. You really don’t get it. Even when it snows on May 3rd you really don’t get it.’ And the loyalty and the passion that the people have here is what always drives me back. And that’s why I’m here today. I believe that I can help Glen Taylor and this franchise reach and exceed what we’ve done in the past. And that’s very, very important.

Glen talked about our relationship and how it started and how things come pretty much full circle. I think what happens is that as me as a coach and as an individual, you also learn. And one of the first things I learned is that when I left Minnesota what I missed about it, I missed the relationship that I had with my owner. Talking to other coaches that was always the most important thing, is that you have an open relationship and a trust factor between the two. So that became extremely important to me in having that. And that’s what I feel like we really have here.

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