Minneapolis, MN – The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Thursday that the team will not exercise the option on president of basketball operations David Kahn's contract for the 2013-14 season, putting an end to the executive's mostly unsuccessful four-year tenure as the franchise's primary decision-maker on personnel matters.
According to a report from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders will take over as Kahn's replacement.
Minnesota hired Kahn as the successor to Kevin McHale in May of 2009, but the Timberwolves never made the playoffs in any of his four seasons in charge despite improving their win total in each of those years. The team finished 12th in the Western Conference in 2012-13, posting a 31-51 overall mark amidst a litany of injuries to a number of key performers.
Kahn's tenure was also marked by several questionable decisions in both the draft and free agency. He chose guard Jonny Flynn, now out of the NBA, over Golden State star Stephen Curry with the sixth pick in the 2009 draft, while also missing on Syracuse forward Wesley Johnson with the No. 4 overall selection in 2011. Kahn also gambled on the chronically injured Brandon Roy, who appeared in just five games this past season after coming out of retirement to sign with the Timberwolves.
"We want to thank David for all of his efforts the past four years with our basketball team," said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. "These are always difficult decisions, but at this time, we believe it is in the best interest of our organization to make a change. We wish David all the best in the future."
Saunders served as Minnesota's head coach for parts of 10 seasons from 1995-2005 and oversaw the most successful era of the franchise's history. The Timberwolves twice won 50 or more games during that period, highlighted by a trip to the Western Conference finals in 2003-04.
After being fired by McHale following a 25-26 start to the 2004-05 campaign, Saunders had head-coaching stints with Detroit and Washington. The 58-year-old most recently was working as an advisor with the Boston Celtics.
The Star-Tribune reported that details for an introductory press conference for Saunders are still being worked out.