Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - The Minnesota Timberwolves have named Flip Saunders as the team's new president of basketball operations.
Saunders, who also took a minority ownership stake in the team, is replacing David Kahn after the club chose not to exercise the option on his contract.
"We are thrilled to have Flip back with the Timberwolves organization," team owner Glen Taylor said in a statement Friday. "Flip is one of the more experienced and creative minds in basketball. He knows what it takes to win in the NBA and we are confident that he will do what is necessary to lead us to a return to our best days as an organization."
Saunders, 58, 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 won at least 50 games four times during that period, including a franchise-best 58-24 record in 2003-04, a season that ended with an appearance in the Western Conference finals.
The club got off to a 25-26 start the following season, resulting in Saunders' dismissal. He wasn't out of work long, however, landing the head-coaching job with Detroit. Saunders led the Pistons to three consecutive Central Division titles from 2005-08, and he most recently spent two-plus seasons as Washington's head coach.
"I'm excited to be back with the Timberwolves and want to thank Glen Taylor for this opportunity," Saunders said in a statement Friday. "My goal is to help the Wolves achieve the success that we experienced during my first tenure with this organization. We have a strong nucleus in place and will look to add assets that will allow us to make the playoffs and eventually compete for an NBA championship."
The Timberwolves failed to make the playoffs in all four seasons Kahn was in charge.
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.