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Saunders to take over as head coach of Timberwolves

Flip Saunders finally hired someone to coach the Timberwolves: himself.

Saunders, who was hired last offseason as the franchise’s president of basketball operations, will assume the bench for the 2014-15 season, the Pioneer Press has learned.

The Wolves have not made the news official but announced they will introduce their new coach during a news conference Friday at Target Center.

Saunders coached the team from 1995-2005, including the only eight playoff appearances in franchise history. Saunders, 59, is the most successful coach in Wolves history, winning 411 games, including a Western Conference final appearance in 2004.

When Rick Adelman stepped down after the season in April, Saunders said he was seeking a coach with "clout" and someone with experience -- and didn’t rule himself out.

The Wolves courted first-year Memphis coach Dave Joerger in May, but the Minnesota native decided to stay with the Grizzlies.

The subtext to this move is keeping Kevin Love, the three-time all-star who was recently named to the all-NBA second team. 

Under NBA rules, the Timberwolves can offer Love a new contract worth $26 million more than any other team in January.

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has said he would prefer Saunders remain in his front office role, but the situation has obviously changed with Joerger and Love’s uncertainty.