In news that’s unfortunate but not surprising, Minnesota Timberwolves president and head coach Flip Saunders won’t return to his jobs this season because of his battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Wolves owner Glen Taylor confirmed the news on Friday:
“Not this year. I just think his illness, I mean, it’s serious. At this point, if he came back I still think he’d have a hard time to recover all his energy and all that because he has been in the hospital for a long time.”
The Wolves announced Saunders’s diagnosis in August, and the longtime head coach planned to continue working while undergoing chemotherapy. However, complications arose that forced him to the hospital, and he’s been hospitalized since September.
Assistant coach Sam Mitchell was promoted to interim head coach after Saunders was hospitalized, and general manager Milt Newton was given increased duties as well to cover for Saunders’s role in basketball operations. Both Mitchell and Newton have full authority to make player personnel decisions moving forward.