The past week or so has been generally quiet on the Wolves’ head coaching front. After Flip Saunders ruled out Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg as a realistic candidate for the opening, there hasn’t been much out there.
Today, Tom Izzo told an ESPNU podcast that he was returning to Michigan State next year, effectively ruling himself out for any NBA job openings. There was also a report by Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears stating that Stan Van Gundy does not have interest in the Wolves’ coaching position, either.
Cross a couple of more big names off the list. Somewhere in the general vicinity of when the above reports came down, Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 in the Twin Cities posted an article that detailed where the coaching search stands today. In short, it’s moving at a glacial pace, especially compared to openings in Utah and New York, where favorites and front-runners have already been made known.
Wolfson notes that George Karl and Lionel Hollins are two “strong contenders” for the position, but that Flip Saunders and Co. have yet to actually reach out to either coach. He also reports that Karl “would love the opportunity to coach the Wolves and he’s hoping his phone rings soon”, according to multiple sources. Which begs the question, why haven’t the Wolves contacted the 2013 NBA Coach of the Year?
I actually don’t love George Karl, but he’s at the very least a good coach and a big name, which should help sway Kevin Love to stay in Minneapolis. Without question, if Saunders wants to make a veteran-y, splashy move, this is the play. He’ll be expensive, but so was Rick Adelman. As for Hollins, he wouldn’t be a bad choice as a runner-up and he should absolutely be interviewed.
In a piece written before Izzo’s public denial of interest in coaching in the pros, Wolfson put the odds of the Michigan State coach joining the NBA at 50-50. That doesn’t appear to be true anymore, of course.
He also suggests that Billy Donovan may have tepid interest in a job like the one in Minnesota, and doesn’t think that the Wolves would be all too interested in contacting Frank Vogel or Scott Brooks if either coach is relieved of his duties after a looming first round exit for their respective squads.
On the off chance that the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau is fired, the Wolves would be interested, according to Wolfson’s sources. He also mentions that old friend Sam Mitchell would be interested but the feeling is likely not mutual, and names like Lindsey Hunter, Sam Cassell, and Chauncey Billups are thrown out as potential assistant coaches/head-coach-in-waitings.
Going back nearly a week, this ESPN roundtable mentions names like Alvin Gentry, Kaleb Canales, and Rex Kalamian, all working as assistants for the Clippers, Mavericks, and Thunder, respectively, as well as Stan Van Gundy and George Karl.
So yes, there has been a whole lot of nothing that has actually gone on. Hoiberg, Stan Van Gundy, and Izzo are all likely out, with Donovan looking unlikely. Other than that, anything could happen at this point. Stay tuned to DWW for the latest as we navigate this all-too-familiar journey.