Saunders returning to T-Wolves’ bench

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves’ best days came with Flip Saunders on the sideline.

Now that the organization is shrouded in uncertainty surrounding the long-term future of star forward Kevin Love, Saunders is returning to the bench to try revive a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years.

With the team’s coaching search complicated by Love’s status, the Timberwolves decided the best course of action was to have Saunders, who was hired last season as president of basketball operations, step in for a second stint as coach until the situation stabilized, Saunders said in a text message Thursday.

Saunders previously coached the Timberwolves from 1995-2005. He won 411 games in 10 1/2 seasons in Minnesota and guided the Wolves to the only eight playoff appearances in franchise history, including the Western Conference finals in 2004. He has a career record of 638-526 in 16 seasons as an NBA head coach, a career that also includes stops in Detroit, where he coached the Pistons to three straight Eastern Conference finals, and Washington.

Kentucky gives Calipari new contract

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky gave coach John Calipari a new seven-year, $52.5 million contract that will pay a base package of $6.5 million next season and $8 million over each of the final three seasons.

Already one of college basketball’s highest-paid coaches, Calipari led the Wildcats to the 2012 NCAA championship and is coming off his third Final Four appearance in five years with Kentucky, a 60-54 title-game loss to Connecticut in April. He has often been rumored as a potential candidate for NBA coaching openings, most recently this spring with the Los Angeles Lakers.

FIFA not worried about Brazil’s preperation

SAO PAULO (AP) — FIFA is “not afraid” things will go wrong at the start of the World Cup despite preparation problems in Brazil.

Soccer’s governing body said it’s “in control” of what needs to be done to get the tournament off to a good start in a week.

A meeting of the local World Cup organizing committee took place the day Sao Paulo was thrown into transit chaos as subway and overland commuter train operators went on strike, putting at risk the only means that most soccer fans will have to reach the Itaquerao stadium which will host the opener between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.



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