Wolves finalize deal to name Saunders coach

Interim coach Ryan Saunders finalized a multiyear deal to become head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.

Gersson Rosas, the Timberwolves' new president of basketball operations, met with candidates at the NBA draft combine, but the search turned back to Saunders.

"Ryan is an excellent communicator and has developed open and trusting relationships with our players. I've known Ryan for many years and have always respected his approach to the game, work ethic, basketball knowledge and passion. His coaching style and philosophies are ideal for the modern NBA and I am confident that as a partner he will get the most out of our players as we build an identity and a sustainable winning model," Rosas said in a statement announcing the news.

Saunders, 33, finished the Timberwolves' season as interim coach after the midseason firing of Tom Thibodeau and earned the endorsement of All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns.

Saunders has made a strong impression on ownership and senior management, including Rosas, who has spent a dozen or so hours meeting with him since Rosas' recent appointment to run the Wolves' basketball operations.

He is the son of late Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, who died in 2015 at the age of 60 after battling cancer.

Minnesota is also hiring Brooklyn's Gianluca Pascucci as an assistant GM, league sources told ESPN. Pascucci was the Nets' director of global scouting and had previously worked closely with Rosas in Houston.