A series of reports today have helped clarify the Wolves coaching plans going forward, at least to the extent that they plan to conduct a search that will likely include current interim coach Sam Mitchell as a candidate.
Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted out earlier in the day
There is also a rising belief in NBA coaching circles that Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell could be ousted once the regular season ends.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 13, 2016
A bit later Woj dropped this bomb:
Sources: Minnesota embarking on head coaching search that includes Sam Mitchell as part of candidate process. List: Van Gundy, Thibs, Brooks— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 13, 2016
Meanwhile, there has been comment from some local press, including Darren Wolfson, that they are skeptical that Taylor would lay out the cash for Thibodeau, though Doogie did suggest that Thibs would be willing to work with GM Milt Newton.
So what do we know? It sounds like there is going to be an actual process to search for and hire a head coach for the Timberwolves. This is unquestionably a good thing, though it's a little complicated by Milt Newton's role. In the normal course of things, an owner would hire someone to run their basketball operation, then allow that person to hire a coach. That does not appear to be what's happening here.
While Newton has been assured that he will have his job through the summer, Glen Taylor will apparently be heading up the coaching search, and how much if any input Newton will have is unclear.
Still, talking to multiple candidates is a good thing, and I applaud Taylor for going this route instead of the easy one of letting Mitchell keep the job unopposed. Of course the results of the search will be important, but this sounds like the beginning of something that might be called a process.
The list of names Woj supplied is an interesting one. I have been a huge proponent of bringing Tom Thibodeau in as head coach due to his success with the Bulls and earlier as an assistant. He's a difference making coach who is almost certain to install a more successful defensive scheme, something the Wolves sorely need.
Jeff Van Gundy is also interesting, and someone Flip Saunders talked to about the job prior to taking it on himself. Van Gundy was a successful head coach in New York and Houston, but has been out of the profession for several years. Still, he brings credibility and seems self aware about what he needs to be successful.
Scott Brooks is a bit of a mixed bag. He presided over the development of the Thunder into a contender, but was often criticized for his lack of offensive creativity, and certainly he had a ton of talent at his disposal in Oklahoma City. He wouldn't be too high on my list.
Of course we know Sam Mitchell.
It's also possible other names will surface as the process gets underway, though indications are Taylor will be focusing on candidates with previous head coaching experience as opposed to assistants. I would like to see David Blatt and Ettore Messina be interviewed as well, but we'll see how things go.
More on the coaching situation as it develops.
EDIT: A little more info from Woj is here. Apparently Taylor is considering a variety of management structures, including giving full autonomy to a high profile coach, which would leave Newton in a similar role he had under Flip Saunders.
Again, we'll have to await events.