UPDATE: Thursday, May 2, at 9:57 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
ESPN's Brian Windhorst confirmed Flip Saunders' new role with the Timberwolves:
Flip Saunders confirmed to ESPN on Thursday night that he's signed a long-term deal to become the Minnesota Timberwolves' president of basketball operations and will hold a minority ownership stake in the team, as well.
---End of update---
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski broke the story of Kahn's firing:
Minnesota has fired general manager David Kahn, league source tells Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 2, 2013
The team's public relations Twitter feed confirmed the move, stating Minnesota failed to pick up Kahn's option for next season:
#Twolves announce team has declined 1-yr option in David Kahn's contract, thus he will not return as President of Basketball Ops.— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) May 2, 2013
There is no official word on who will replace Kahn, but all signs are pointing to former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders being the front-runner.
Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press is reporting that Saunders and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor are in the final stages of negotiations:
AP Sources: Glen Taylor is not picking up David Kahn's option and is finalizing a deal to make Flip Saunders #TWolves new president.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) May 2, 2013
Saunders will take over for Kahn, a former sportswriter for The Oregonian who has been an NBA executive for parts of each of the past three decades. He spent time with the Indiana Pacers for nearly nine years until 2004, where his responsibilities lied mostly on the business end of the organization.
Taking over the Timberwolves from the fired Kevin McHale in 2009, Minnesota was Kahn’s first foray into the roster-management side. And to put it mildly, Kahn’s four-year tenure with the club was rocky at best.
Among Kahn’s first major decisions at the helm came at the 2009 draft. Armed with three picks in the first 18 selections, Kahn drafted three point guards—Ricky Rubio (No. 5), Jonny Flynn (No. 6) and Ty Lawson (No. 18). Though Lawson was subsequently traded, the draft haul was largely seen as being bizarre and got Kahn’s relationship with fans off to an untenable start.
It didn’t help that Kahn was unable to resurrect the struggling franchise on the floor, either. Minnesota finished at least 14 games below .500 in each of Kahn's four years with the team, compiling an 89-223 record overall.
Expected to compete for a playoff spot prior to the season, the Timberwolves’ 2012-13 campaign was mired with injuries—specifically to star Kevin Love—and they finished with a 31-51 record.