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Sam Mitchel in trouble as Timberwolves coach, reportedly will be considered to keep job


Minnesota Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell yells out to his team during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Saturday, April 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)


As I had written in this week’s final NBC NBA Power Rankings, I have heard for a while that Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell is on shaky ground as the young team’s coach. Management thinks it can get a better fit than the old-school Mitchell.

That was confirmed by both Marc Stein of ESPN and Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports. And since this may be the best positioned up-and-coming team in the NBA — led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins — big name coaches will take a long look at this job.

I had heard that GM Milt Newton was safe in his job, but could his role change, Wojnarowski writes.

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor has engaged with a prominent search firm to help gauge the potential for giving a coach full autonomy and letting him build out the front office, league sources said. The search firm has been identifying both coaching and management candidates, sources said. Taylor is intrigued with the Stan Van Gundy model in Detroit that has helped return the Pistons to the playoffs, sources said.

Milt Newton is the Wolves’ general manager, but it is unclear if a new coach will answer to him – or if he’ll answer to a new coach, sources said. Newton worked under the late Flip Saunders, who had full control of basketball operations and coached the Timberwolves. Saunders died in October.

I would see Tom Thibodeau or Scott Brooks as great fits here, that is if ownership and management feels they can deal with the gruff Thibodeau. Van Gundy would be a good fit anywhere, but I like him as a broadcaster, so I’m hoping he doesn’t land an NBA gig.

Minnesota may not be the warmest or most popular stop on the NBA tour, but it could be where one of the best teams in the NBA resides in a few seasons.