A full search for a new coach is in order for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Dave Joerger has practically fallen into their laps.
One of the surprises of the 2018-19 NBA season was the Sacramento Kings, who remained in the playoff conversation until the final weeks and wound up with their best record (39-43) since the 2005-06 season. But head coach Dave Joerger’s reward for that was being fired on Thursday, as the Kings cleaned house and gave general manager Vlade Divac a contract extension.
Three years appears to be Joerger’s shelf life in NBA coaching jobs. After two 50-win seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, a 42-40 mark and a first-round playoff sweep in 2015-16 got him fired. But to be fair, Memphis and Sacramento have not exactly been well-run franchises from the top down in recent years.
There are conflicting regarding the Minnesota Timberwolves keeping interim head coach Ryan Saunders permanently. He took over after Tom Thibodeau was fired this past season, and led the team to a 17-25 mark over the rest of the season. But a search for a new president of basketball operations is reportedly getting going, and whoever that person is should be given full autonomy to hire the new coach.
Back in 2014, before naming himself head coach, then-Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders almost got Joerger away from the Grizzlies. Joerger, a native of Staples, MN, called the Timberwolves job “interesting” after Thibodeau was fired back in January.
Outside of when Flip Saunders was first the coach and later came back as team president, and whatever good things Kevin McHale did as general manager, Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor has drawn plenty of deserved scrutiny for his ability to hire the right people. That doubt is resetting now as a new president of basketball operations is being sought, with secondary concern regarding Taylor’s level of real involvement in the process of hiring a new coach.
No one would complain if Ryan Saunders became the permanent head coach of the Timberwolves. But a worthy candidate like Joerger has practically fallen into their laps, with a second chance to get him five years later.
If Joerger wants to come back home to coach the Timberwolves, it’s safe to assume Taylor (or a less than qualified team president) won’t be able to screw it up. Assuming an actual search for a new coach is coming.