Saunders, 60, dies of cancer

MINNEAPOLIS — Flip Saunders, who rose from the backwaters of basketball’s minor leagues to become one of the most powerful men in the NBA as coach, team president and part owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, died Sunday, the team said. He was 60.

Saunders was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in June and doctors called it “treatable and curable.” But he took a leave of absence from the team in September after complications arose during his treatment, which included chemotherapy. He had been hospitalized for more than a month.

“Flip was a symbol of strength, compassion, and dignity for our organization,” owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. “He was a shining example of what a true leader should be, defined by his integrity and kindness to all he encountered.

Sam Mitchell has been named interim head coach and GM Milt Newton is heading the team’s personnel department.

Saunders went 654-592 in 17 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards. But his best days came in Minnesota, where he nurtured Kevin Garnett from a teenager who jumped straight from high school to the NBA in 1995 and helped turn the woeful Wolves into a perennial playoff team.
The Timberwolves had started to practice on Sunday when Newton got word from Taylor of Saunders’ death. Practice was halted and a devastated Garnett left the floor, walked to the parking garage at the practice facility and sat down in the spot marked for Saunders.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco lacks housing data that would let it track rental vacancies and prices. New legislation is seeking to change that.<ins> (Photo by Joel Angel Jurez/2016 Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Landlords blast proposal to require annual report on rentals as invasion of privacy

Housing inventory could give city better data on housing vacancies, affordability

Health care workers would be the first group in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
Hope on the way: Here’s what to know about California’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

The first batch of doses could hit the state as soon as early December

The Big Game was played Friday at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. (Shutterstock)
Stanford blocks extra point to stun Cal, win 123rd Big Game 24-23

The 123rd edition of the Big Game featured a number of firsts.… Continue reading

Psilocybin magic mushrooms (Shutterstock)
‘Magic mushrooms’ moving into the mainstream

Efforts to decriminalize psychedelics could follow several different paths

The 2020 Census has concluded taking responses sooner than expected. (Courtesy photo)
What does California have to lose if undocumented immigrants are excluded from the census?

By Kim Bojórquez The Sacramento Bee If The U.S. Supreme Court rules… Continue reading

Most Read