MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With speculation on his job status reaching a fever pitch, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said Friday night that he has not met with owner Glen Taylor to discuss the team option on his contract for next season.
Kahn released a statement after NBA.com reported Taylor had decided to fire him and was negotiating with Flip Saunders to be the new president. Kahn said he didn’t expect to meet with Taylor until after coach Rick Adelman informs the team about his plans for next season. Adelman is currently mulling returning or retiring to be with his wife Mary Kay, who suffered from seizures earlier in the season.
“First, I wake up every day knowing it’s a privilege to have this job, and not a right,” Kahn’s statement read. “Speculation about our jobs is part of this business, especially when you strip the emotion out of it. Speculation is especially understandable now, as we have a deep and talented team, with several cornerstone players, and will be poised for big success once it regains its health.”
Adelman has been in discussions with doctors both in Minnesota and his offseason home in Portland to try to get a better gauge on Mary Kay’s outlook. Her condition has been improving, but doctors were still trying to find the right combination of medications to help treat the seizures.
“Glen and I have an understanding that we will meet at the appropriate time to discuss my contractual status, but only after we have clarification on coach Adelman’s status and Glen has all the information he needs,” Kahn said. “It is no different than when we make decisions on players who have options. We wait for the process to unfold. In the meantime, Glen and I have been having conversations about the draft, free agency and other plans.”
The Timberwolves declined to comment on the report and The Associated Press left a message with Taylor. Two people with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP on Friday that Taylor has had exploratory discussions with Saunders, but has yet to make a decision on who will run basketball operations next season. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the process.
In his weekly radio appearance with KFXN-FM radio in Minneapolis, Saunders said he had not officially been offered the job.
“What develops yet has yet to really be determined,” he said.
Saunders coached the Timberwolves from 1995-2005, leading them to eight straight playoff appearances and a spot in the 2004 Western Conference finals. The Wolves have never made the playoffs without Saunders as coach.
Even after being fired midway through the 2005 season, Sanders remained close with Taylor. They talk often about the NBA, and Saunders did have some talks with Taylor about fronting a group to buy the team from him. Those talks so far have gone nowhere, but Saunders could still find a way back into Target Center.
Kahn has overseen teams that have gone a combined 89-223 in four seasons. He is credited with landing Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio and Adelman as coach and also spearheading a renewed openness from the franchise to international players, a strategy that has injected some much-needed talent into the roster.
But he has also struggled mightily in the draft, clashed repeatedly with his first head coaching hire in Kurt Rambis before firing him two seasons into a four-year deal, and butted heads with star forward Kevin Love during contract negotiations.
The Timberwolves hoped to end an eight-year playoff drought this season. But a rash of injuries sabotaged those plans.
“We had three players, including Ricky Rubio, begin their offseason conditioning and basketball drills in Minneapolis last week, two days after the season ended,” Kahn said. “That kind of hard work and dedication is why we will be a special team.”
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