Waiting game: Ryan Saunders delayed conversations with other teams until the Timberwolves made a decision

"My heart is with the Wolves"

WCCO Radio Newsroom
May 21, 2019 - 3:25 pm

Expectations met reality when the Minnesota Timberwolves removed the ‘interim’ title and officially introduced Ryan Saunders as the newest head coach of the franchise.

In March, rumors and reports stated that the team would retain Saunders after he coached the final 42-games of the 2018-19 season. Despite a 17-25 record, he commanded the locker room and earned the respect and trust of franchise cornerstone Karl-Anthony Towns.

While management did their due diligence and considered other candidates, Saunders continued to call Minneapolis home and actually politely declined conversations with other teams until the Timberwolves made a decision.

“Other places (reached out),” Saunders said during an in-studio interview with Chad Hartman of News Talk 830 WCCO. “I respectfully told them that my heart is with the Wolves and until I hear that I am not the coach, I politely will decline any type of communication in that sense.

“This job means that much to me. Being here, being home and doing this, this is the job that I wanted after I got into the position.”

Related Links: Timberwolves President of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas, joined News Talk 830 WCCO

Minnesota is home to Saunders, he’s the son of Flip Saunders, the former coach of the Wolves who led them to their first-ever playoff appearance and the Western Conference Finals in 2004. Both father and son played college basketball for the University of Minnesota.

The elder Saunders passed away in 2015 after battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“Today was a day that my dad was supposed to be at and be able to watch,” Saunders said of the emotions of his introductory press conference. “He always used to tell me, ‘you’re going to be my retirement job where I’m going to be done coaching and working and all I’m going to do, like you used to do, hitch a ride on the team plane and just enjoy the road trips. That’s what I’m going to do.’

“Obviously I wish he was here but I know that he’s happy with today. Happy that my first full-time head coaching job is here in Minnesota, a place that he loved so much and he’s happy that I’m around the people that meant a lot to him too.”

Related Links: Henry Lake joined Cory Hepola to discuss the Saunders hiring. 

Towns took to instagram to post about his new head coach. 

The rightful heir to the throne.

A post shared by Karl-Anthony Towns (@karltowns) on


Comments ()