Sam Mitchell back as assistant coach, yet eyes being head coach again some day


sam-mitchell-minnesotaThe Minnesota Timberwolves have named Sam Mitchell as an assistant on coach Flip Saunders’ staff, NBA official website reported.

“I am excited. I’ve played in Minnesota, I’ve know Flip (Sauders), I’ve played for him. A lot of people are still in the organization who were there when I was still playing, so I am looking forward to going back, and growing under Flip Sauders,” Mitchell said on TV.

“It’s a exciting time for me, it’s the beginning of a new chapter,” he said.

“I’ve learned a lot, being away from the game, watching all the different coaches, all the different systems, and watching how different things are done. So I am excited to continue to grow, continue to learn,” he said.

The Timberwolves made the announcement Tuesday. Mitchell played for the Timberwolves in 10 seasons, including seven years during Saunders’ first stint as coach of the team.

Mitchell coached the Toronto Raptors for just over four seasons and was named coach of the year in 2006-07. Mitchell coached the Toronto Raptors for four full seasons and won coach of the year in 2007.

He also served as an assistant under Avery Johnson in New Jersey and George Karl in Milwaukee. He had been serving as an analyst on NBA TV among other media outlets while waiting to get back into the game.

“Hopefully one day I’ll be back in that chair of the head coach, but for now it’s about learning, because you never stop learning as a coach,” Mitchell noted.

Speaking about not being able to be as honest and open to the league’s officials from the studio, once he joins the coaching staff, Mitchell said it was about money.

“The officials’ technical fouls cost $2500, and they take it out of your check so that’s something I learned a long time ago, they don’t give the money back,” he laughed.

Mitchell played 13 seasons in the NBA, for Indiana Pacers and Minnesota. He played 10 of his 13 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves. Mitchell played a total of 994 games (started 322) in the NBA, holding career averages of 8.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg in 22.4 mpg.


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