PART owner and head coach of the NBA team Minnesota Timberwolves Flip Saunders on Wednesday announced he has Hodgkins lymphoma, a disease that his doctors say is “very treatable and curable” but would still dampen the spirits of the rejuvenated squad he would spearhead to the 2015-2016 season in October.
Saunders publicly announced that he is currently receiving treatment for the disease after being diagnosed with the cancer of the immune system a couple of months ago. The feisty coach, who spent time calling the shots for teams like the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, is optimistic he can overcome the setback as he plans to remain the Timberwolves’ head coach and top executive while receiving treatment.
In a statement issued by the team, he said, “I am attacking this with the same passion I do everything in my life, knowing this is a serious issue.” The 60-year old Saunders became the Timberwolves’ team president in May 2013, a ladder higher than his previous post of being an advisor for the Boston Celtics in 2012.
He added, “I also know that God has prepared me to fight this battle.” And this is not the only battle he keeps fighting. The Timberwolves, a team dear to the Twin City’s basketball fans, are hoping to make it to the playoffs this year as they boast a line-up with Karl-Anthony Towns starting at the power forward position.
Team owner Glen Taylor said on Wednesday, “Flip has kept me apprised of his cancer diagnosis and treatment. He has my support as well as my thoughts and prayers for him and his family.”
Saunders was responsible for the move that brought home former go-to-guy Kevin Garnett in 2014. The two-year signing of their former superstar is part of the front office’s various plans to insert Garnett’s championship experience, while training the ‘bigs’ they have in the roster.
Although Saunders only started informing friends about his health condition a few weeks ago, people close to him are more than worried about the grind of the 82-game stretch the league offers.
“I am taking it step by step and day by day to understand how to best manage this process,” he said.
Reenergized fan base of the team that has not made the NBA Playoffs in years are hoping to stir quite a revelation. When the next season starts, the Twins will be boasting a line-up of Spanish Olympian Ricky Rubio at the point guard, 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Champion Zach LaVine at the shooting guard, Russian burly man Nikola Pekovic at center, and promising small forward Andrew Wiggins to join their No.1 overall pick Towns.