MINNEAPOLIS - Hard to believe but it's been a year since the passing of Flip Saunders, who at age 60 died of cancer.
He left behind a Timberwolves franchise with a lot of talent, which was hand-picked by Flip. They open the season Wednesday in Memphis.
He also left behind a great friend in Wolves owner Glen Taylor. The two had big plans but Flip's death meant Taylor had to make tough changes, especially to the Wolves business model.
Taylor spoke one-on-one with Twin Cities Business about how his life changed the day Flip died.
"Glen is an excellent business leader. He likes to look at things long-term," said Dale Kurschner, of Twin Cities Business. "Flip Saunders was a part of a long-term plan. Glen's been thinking about selling the team and, so, he had to get even more engaged and figure out, 'OK, how do I really bring some new energy in with the leadership.'"
Taylor did that by hiring Tom Thibodeau as his head coach and president of basketball operations; he takes over the incredible talent that Flip found, making this the most important time in franchise history.
"Karl-Anthony Towns is 20 years old. Andrew Wiggins is 21. Zach Lavine is 21," said Brad Ruiter, Timberwolves VP of communications. "The talent that they have and cohesiveness that they have together as a group is just immense."
Taylor wants to see his Wolves make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. He's 75 now, and as Kurschner tells us, his future as the owner is unclear.
"He tells TCB that he knows it probably won't be a local buyer that comes in, just because the price tag is so high now," he said. "The Timberwolves enterprise will probably sell for upwards of a billion dollars."
Taylor went on to tell TCB that Flip was destined to be a part of the next ownership group, saying, "they didn't get into details, but that they trusted each other."