Shortly after Flip Saunders was announced as the new head coach for the Timberwolves, speculation began regarding the coaching staff that he would be surrounding himself with.
Names bandied about included David Blatt, the international coaching superstar, a host of former Wolves’ players and coaches, and a number of Saunders’ own former colleagues. This list included Chauncey Billups, Sam Cassell, Sam Mitchell, Sidney Lowe, Eric Musselman, and Flip’s own son, Ryan, who is currently an assistant in Washington.
The Blatt ‘news’ was understandably received with great excitement around much of Wolvesdom, as he’s a highly respected and coveted coach. Of course, nobody has thought enough of him to hand over their head coaching job, and teams such as Golden State, Cleveland, and Minnesota have largely looked at him as an up-and-comer in need of NBA seasoning as an assistant coach prior to being promoted to the top job.
And sure enough, Blatt has decided to leave Maccabi Tel Aviv for the NBA, although he has not announced which job he will be taking. Of course, it’s already being reported that Blatt has eliminated the Wolves from consideration, despite the alleged offer of the top assistant spot being on the table.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers will be interviewing Blatt for their head coaching position. If Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert indeed decides to think outside the box, this would be an excellent hire. Otherwise, it appears as though Steve Kerr and the Warriors may have won the battle in wooing one of the most highly sought-after young coaching minds in the game, unless the Cavs draw everything out and the Warriors move on from Blatt. In that case, the Wolves could be all he’s left with after burning the bridge back to his current post.
As for the Wolves, well, Sam Mitchell is back. So there’s that. Raise a glass, or whatever it is we should be doing when the Target Center Country Club is getting back together. Additionally, Jerry Zgoda at the Strib reports that Sidney Lowe is in town, presumably to interview for and eventually accept a role on Saunders’ staff. Zgoda also mentions Billups as a possibility to join the staff if he indeed retires as a player this summer.
None of this is surprising, of course. We all know what we’re signed up for at this point, right?