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Wolves begin coaching search; Ryan Saunders still 'prominent' candidate

Hoops Rumors logo Hoops Rumors 5/14/2019 Luke Adams, Hoops Rumors

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 12:  Assistant coach Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat in action against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at American Airlines Arena on November 12, 2018 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) © Michael Reaves/Getty Images MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Assistant coach Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat in action against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at American Airlines Arena on November 12, 2018 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Having settled into his new role in Minnesota, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has decided to launch a search for the club’s head coaching position, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Interim coach Ryan Saunders, who had widely been viewed as a strong bet to keep the job, will remain a “prominent” candidate, according to Wojnarowski, but the team will interview outside candidates as well. League sources tell Woj that Heat assistant Juwan Howard and Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool are among those will meet with the Wolves about the position.

Howard and Vanterpool have been popular targets so far this spring for teams making head coaching changes. Howard interviewed with the Lakers and Cavaliers, while Vanterpool has met with the Cavs and Suns.

Wojnarowski reports that Howard is expected to meet with Rosas during this week’s draft combine, while Vanterpool will likely connect with Rosas later in the week.

As for Saunders, he has made a strong impression on team ownership since taking over for Tom Thibodeau on Minnesota’s bench during the 2018-19 season, according to Wojnarowski. Saunders has also impressed Rosas, having met with him for “a dozen or so hours” since the former Rockets exec was hired. Nonetheless, the Wolves want to consider all their options before simply handing the reins to Saunders on a permanent basis.

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