Timberwolves 'rallying around' new head coach Ryan Saunders

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"We had just celebrated a good win, so we all went home thinking the day was over", Towns told reporters, as Thibodeau's release came after a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. And everyone involved - players, coaches and staff - know that. Simply put: There's hardly a member of the Timberwolves organization who carries more respect than Ryan Saunders.

Saunders is expected to have the rest of the season his case as full-time coach. "I think now, (we're) halfway through the season and I don't think we're where we thought we would be or where we think we should be". "He's not too much older than me, so I think we're going to go in the right direction". Though the Timberwolves ended their 13-year absence from the playoffs last spring, they've by and large underachieved since Thibodeau, who is 60, took over. Towns as well as teammate Andrew Wiggins were told about the firing by phone, and were reportedly not given a solid answer as to why.

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Saunders said he had meetings with each player individually Monday, making clear what he hopes to see going forward and trying to get a feel about where each player stands concerning the transition.

"I've got a lot of ideas, but you've got to see what's best for the team", Saunders said. "If you look at something as a trial, I think that's when you start putting pressure on yourself or other people that just isn't there".

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The list includes former New Orleans Pelicans coach and current Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams, former Chicago Bulls coach and Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg, and former Timberwolves guard and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups. "Maybe one of those games". For the time being, assistant coach Ryan Saunders will take over for Thibodeau on an interim basis. Most other acknowledged National Basketball Association coaches who took on the role during their roaring 20s were all former player-coaches like Debusschere.

Rose said he was shocked and hurt by the dismissal, but also insisted the change wouldn't hinder his resurgence.

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