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Rumor: Fred Hoiberg could be courted to take over Timberwolves next season

Iowa State v North Carolina

during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.

Tom Pennington

To this point, Fred Hoiberg has done nothing but be loyal to Iowa State and build up that university’s basketball program (they are on to the Sweet 16 this year). He has shot down every query from other institutions or teams that have come his come his way.

However, because he has NBA experience — as a player and in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office — there is considerable interest in him around the NBA, should he ever want to return to the league. Which means rumors. Always rumors.

The latest is from Mark Stein at ESPN — Rick Adelman may well be stepping down in Minnesota at season’s end and Hoiberg’s name looks like it could be in the mix to replace him.

Widely regarded as the most NBA-ready college coach in the game, Hoiberg was a Wolves executive for four years before leaving the pros to coach the Cyclones. It should be noted that Saunders is close with Michigan State’s Tom Izzo as well, but the rumbles out of ‘Sota are getting louder that the Wolves are going to court Hoiberg hard should they, as expected, have an opening.

It is no lock that Hoiberg takes this job. First off, it may not get offered because the most logical person to take over is current Minnesota team president Flip Saunders.

However, if Saunders doesn’t want to patrol the sidelines anymore they may well reach out to Hoiberg.

Then Hoiberg has to assess the situation — Kevin Love is under contract but likely will bolt in 2015, which will trigger a rebuild (whether or not they trade him, once Love is gone it will be an overhaul in Minnesota). Does he want to leave Iowa State, where he is happy, for that turmoil? Does he think he can change Love’s mind?

My guess is that next fall Hoiberg will still be coaching in Ames, Iowa. Someday he may make the jump to the NBA, but he has to pick a situation he likes, where there is a good chance at long-term success. Not sure that is in Minnesota right now.