Former Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders hired to Denver Nuggets staff

Fomer Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders is reportedly headed to join Michael Malone's staff with the Denver Nuggets as an assistant coach.

After nearly 16 months away from basketball, it appears that Ryan Saunders has found a new home.

According to multiple reports on Sunday, the Denver Nuggets are expected to hire Saunders to join Michael Malone’s staff as an assistant coach. Saunders was fired as Timberwolves’ coach in February of 2021 after the team got off to a 7-24 start.

Gersson Rosas, Minnesota’s president of basketball operations at the time, hired Chris Finch to replace Saunders. Over parts of three seasons, the Timberwolves went 43-94 with Saunders as the head coach.

Finch went 16-25 over the final 41 games of the 2021-22 season with Minnesota. This past year, he helped lead the Timberwolves to a 46-36 record and the team’s second appearance in the NBA Playoffs since 2004.

Saunders heads to Denver after the Timberwolves recently named Tim Connelly the new president of basketball operations to replace Rosas. Connelly was the head of the Nuggets’ front office for nine years.

Saunders has 12 years of coaching experience in NBA circles, and got his start with the Washington Wizards in 2009. He’s the son of long-time Timberwolves’ coach Flip Saunders, who passed away in October of 2015 after a battle with cancer.