The Minnesota Timberwolves are planning to open a search for a new president of basketball operations, although owner Glen Taylor prefers to keep general manager Scott Layden and interim coach Ryan Saunders as part of a revised organizational structure, league sources told ESPN.
The Timberwolves are hopeful to award Saunders a multiyear deal as coach, sources said. Saunders is likely to get a three-year deal with a team option on the final season, sources said.
In a statement distributed by the team, Taylor thanked Layden, Saunders and the rest of the basketball staff for navigating through the challenge of such a significant midseason change.
"They worked through a season with many injuries requiring many challenges in our player lineup. We are incredibly grateful to them for all of their hard work and commitment to the franchise," Taylor said. "The future of the Minnesota Timberwolves continues to be very bright. It's more important than ever that we find a leader who can build a successful team in today's fast-paced NBA. We have the cornerstones of a very talented team and need to assemble the final pieces that will elevate us into a playoff team and one that can compete for championships."
Layden has successfully sold himself to ownership as a front-office executive independent of the foibles by his past boss, Tom Thibodeau, sources said. Minnesota will survey the marketplace for possible executives to place above Layden.
Saunders, 32, is the youngest head coach in the league. He has earned the endorsement of franchise star Karl-Anthony Towns.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.