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Sam Mitchell serving as Wolves interim coach

With Minnesota Timberwolves coach and team president Flip Saunders fighting cancer, Sam Mitchell has taken over as the team's interim head coach, a source told ESPN's Chris Broussard.

Mitchell's previous head-coaching experience came over four-plus seasons with the Toronto Raptors beginning in the 2004-05 season. Mitchell had a 156-189 record with the Raptors, took the team to the playoffs twice and was named coach of the year in 2006-07. But he was fired 17 games into the 2008-09 season.

The 13-year NBA veteran joined the Timberwolves' staff in June 2014.

Saunders announced Aug. 11 that he is being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, and his doctors considered it "very treatable and curable."

He was diagnosed with a cancer of the immune system in June and has been undergoing chemotherapy.

The 60-year-old Saunders returned to the Timberwolves as team president in 2013. Last year, he replaced the retired Rick Adelman on the bench and the team finished 16-66.

Saunders brought Mitchell to Minnesota for his head-coaching experience and to add some toughness to a staff developing a young core that includes Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad. Mitchell's close relationship with Kevin Garnett, who returned to Minnesota in a February trade with the Brooklyn Nets, should help ease his transition back to the head-coaching job.

Mitchell played 10 of his 13 seasons in the league with the Timberwolves, becoming a popular figure in the community and the locker room. For the final seven years of his career he served as a mentor for a young Garnett, helping show the teenager the NBA ropes while cultivating the intensity that allowed Garnett to blossom into a franchise icon and become one of the best forwards in league history.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.