Somewhere, Sid Hartman is telling the imaginary people in his head "I told you so"
Last postgame presser of the season. Tim and I are sitting in the media room waiting for Adelman to come out and tell us how disappointed he is, when Sid....because of reasons and also because he's Sid....elbows Jerry Zgoda with a giant grin on his face and fairly starts yelling....
Sid: Wanna know who's going to coach the Wolves next year? Flip Saunders, yep
Jerry: Ya, you think so?
Sid: Oh, ya ya. He'll talk Glen into it.
And now here I am, two months later, watching a press conference where Flip Saunders reintroduces himself as the former next head coach of the Timberwolves.
Like I said, Sid's a loon, but people who know things still talk to him, and he knows the country club well. He's basically an honorary member.
Now, what's that tagline mean, you ask? Well, in the words of Shelden Cooper, I am going to answer that question with a visual aid:
I'm legitimately freaked by how well the Wolves line up with sitcom meta-satire these days.
Glen let slip a bit about targeting assistants early in his opening remarks, but Flip later strongly stated he was against anointing a successor or that he took the job to groom anyone. Then he quickly shut down a question about how long he'd coach for. Like, didn't even wait to hear the whole question. "We'll re-evaluate next year." Next.
I think about the only sure things you could take away from the presser was that this wasn't made with the Kevin Love situation in mind, and that Flip and Glen ran out of ideas. I wouldn't say Flip looked eager to be coaching again, to be honest. In fact, they both looked rather miserable.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/canishoopus">@canishoopus</a> it was the most reluctant presser I think I've seen.</p>— Andrew Renschen (@InfraRen) <a href="https://twitter.com/InfraRen/statuses/474983058521612288">June 6, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Were I to make an educated guess, I would say the plan...such as it is....is to lure David Blatt here as a head coach in waiting, with Flip grooming him even though he said that wasn't his intent. Blatt gets offers every year and has thus far flatly rejected every offer for an assistant position. But word is he's seriously talked to the Warriors about a head assistant job, so maybe his stance is changing. I would expect him to get head coaching offers, but maybe he's not. I suppose it's fair to say we could have an advantage in that race if Flip is willing to at least insinuate he'll take over the head coaching job in a year or two. Kerr isn't going to fire himself to let Blatt take over in Golden State.
Barring that, I'd guess the plan is for Flip to just sit on the job until Hoiberg is ready to jump to the NBA, or someone he and Glen think it can't-miss becomes available. Not exactly a proactive mindset.
Eric's already pointed out the obvious in this scenario: this is terrible process. Wolves dysfunction on full display. A routine coaching search was not properly executed. There was no logic to the list of candidates, possibilities that were intentionally overlooked, impossibilities that were chased off a cliff, and no clear objective beyond discardable catchphrases like "experience" and "discipline".
Further, the head coach and the POBO often have competing goals. They should therefore be two different people. One wants growth and sustainability. One wants to win immediately, if not sooner. Tom Thibadeau was irate when Gar Foreman traded away Luol Deng. He's a coach. He doesn't care about cap space or draft positioning or next year. He wants to win the game tonight. And then the one after that. And the one after that. It's a checks and balances system that exists for a reason. No one should have absolute power over a team's decisions (owners included. Peter Holt, anyone?) and while I'm loath to reference Bill Simmons in anything ever, he raises a valid and alarming point: as a part owner and POBO and now coach, Flip Saunders has more power over a basketball team than anyone. More than even his fellow Coachidents Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy.
In any event, the Wolves have basically taken a 'bide time' approach to a problem that doesn't give them any time to bide. Kevin Love, by all accounts, wants out (I'll be addressing this particular mess next week) and telling him to basically sit on it for a year and see what happens is not going to change his mind about that. The draft date is not going magically move back. Cap space isn't going to magically free itself up. The Wolves have essentially chosen to sit on a lawn chair when they need to be running a marathon. It's hard to see how this doesn't result in something we don't already know the conclusion of.