Blazers’ David Vanterpool, Grizzlies’ Chad Forcier interview for spots on Ryan Saunders’ coaching staff
Ryan Saunders was officially retained as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ head coach last month, but didn’t receive final say from newly-appointed president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas on how to fill out out his coaching staff. In fact, Saunders’ first choice as his top assistant, coaching veteran Sidney Lowe, was apparently flatly rejected by Rosas. Considering the names currently being floated as potential assistants with Minnesota, though, Saunders seems bound to come away with a strong staff behind him regardless.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Portland Trail Blazers’ David Vanterpool and Memphis Grizzlies’ Chad Forcier, two of the most well-respected assistants in basketball, have already interviewed for jobs on the Timberwolves’ staff.
Veteran assistant coaches Chad Forcier (Memphis) and David Vanterpool (Portland) are among the candidates who have interviewed for spots on Ryan Saunders' coaching staff in Minnesota, according to league sources
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 5, 2019
Vanterpool, 46, just finished his sixth season as an assistant for the Blazers, who hired him away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he was Director of Pro Personnel for two seasons. He’s also a five-time coach for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative, and was an assistant for the Canadian national team in 2015. Vanterpool interviewed for multiple head-coaching jobs since the end of the regular season, including vacancies of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns.
Forcier has been an NBA assistant since the early 2000s. After his first job with the Detroit Pistons, the 46-year-old began making a name for himself league-wide as a player development specialist with the San Antonio Spurs, for whom he worked from 2007 to 2016. Forcier was named the Grizzlies’ assistant head coach before last season.
Saunders, previously an assistant, was named Minnesota’s interim head coach in January following the ouster of Tom Thibodeau. At 33, the son of the late Flip Saunders is the youngest head coach in the NBA.