The Minnesota Timberwolves lost a substantial part of the team earlier this week. In an unexpected turn of events, Kevin Garnett, Ricky Rubio and the rest of the Minnesota Timberwolves found themselves at loss as the news of Daniel "Flip" Saunders' death rattled the NBA team to its core. The Minnesota Timberwolves coach and general manager succumbed to cancer. He was 60 years old.
"The NBA family is mourning today over the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders," shared NBA commissioner Adam Silver in an official statement following the news that the Minnesota Timberwolves veteran coach passed. He added, "With more than 40 years around the game, 20 of them in the NBA, Flip's untimely passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of our league. Flip was a beloved figure around the NBA, nowhere more so than in Minnesota, demonstrating a genuine and same passion for his players, his team and the game. On behalf of the NBA, we offer our most sincere condolences to Flip's wife, Debbie, their four children and the entire Minnesota Timberwolves organization."
Before his death, reps from the Minnesota Timberwolves announced that the once highly participative Flip Saunders will no longer be actively seen on the sidelines during the basketball games of his NBA team. According to the spokesperson, the future absences of Flip Saunders are due to the conflicting schedules of the NBA matches and his chemotherapy sessions. The news of the illness of Flip Saunders was revealed by the veteran coach himself in August. The Minnesota Timberwolves GM shared that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. While some fans and followers of the Minnesota Timberwolves expressed concern over the announcement of Flip Saunders, the head coach reassured them that his illness was treatable and curable according to his doctors. However, news regarding his treatment revealed that other complications affected the therapy.
Meanwhile, the players of the Minnesota Timberwolves have yet to fully get over the shock of losing such a beloved mentor. The untimely death of Flip Saunders put a halt to the usual rigorous practices of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In fact, the coaching staff believe that the basketball stars must go through the grieving process to overcome this tragic loss.
"I'm going to keep thinking about that moment," said Minnesota Timberwolves star Ricky Rubio, referring to the shock of the announcement of Flip Saunders' death, according to Fox Sports. The point guard added, "I think some of us can't believe that he passed away. Still waiting for him any moment to come and lead us where he wanted us to be." As for Kevin Garnett, the NBA star paid tribute to the great Flip Saunders via social media. Presumably finding no other way to express his grief over the loss, Kevin Garnett used a photograph to reveal his feelings over the unexpected death of his mentor.