Minnesota Timberwolves: Juwan Howard turned down assistant job

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Assistant coach Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Assistant coach Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Juwan Howard interviewed for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ head coaching vacancy. When he was offered a different position, he shifted gears and took the lead job at the University of Michigan.

New Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas spent less than a week evaluating the head coach candidate landscape before landing back on the Wolves’ interim head coach, Ryan Saunders, as the man for the permanent job.

One of the few candidates that Rosas was known to be interviewing for the role was Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard. Now, in Howard’s introductory press conference as the new head coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines, Howard let slip that he was offered a position with the Wolves, although it wasn’t the head job.

Howard spent the last six seasons as an assistant on Erik Spoelstra’s staff in South Beach after finishing his playing career there. He didn’t hold any additional fancy titles, but has been considered a rising star in the coaching ranks.

After interviewing for the Wolves’ vacant head coach position, Minnesota hired Saunders and, according to Juwan, offered the associate head coaching job to Howard.

The associate job is essentially the top assistant, and with some teams, the coach-in-waiting. While moving from one assistant coaching gig to another one in the league isn’t exactly moving on up, Howard would have had a title change and would officially be the No. 2 on the bench.

While we don’t know about the exact timing of the Wolves’ offer versus the opportunity that became available in Ann Arbor after longtime head coach John Beilein opted to leave the Wolverines for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s a fair assumption that Howard valued a head coach opportunity in the Big Ten higher than an assistant for a historically moribund franchise.

It remains to be seen who the official lead assistant will be, as it has been confirmed that only Malik Allen will be returning from last year’s staff.

It’ll be intriguing to see if a) the Wolves hire an associate head coach, and b) if it could be someone seen as a head-coach-in-waiting despite the Wolves already employing the youngest head coach in the league. It probably should be someone who has a bit more experience, but Rosas and Co. could have something completely different in mind.

Next. 3 players the Wolves should target in the draft. dark

Expect more coaching staff announcements to be made in the coming weeks as we draw ever closer to the draft.