The deal could be completed as soon as Monday, sources told ESPN. Saunders is working on assembling a staff.
Gersson Rosas, the Timberwolves’ new president of basketball operations, met with candidates at the NBA draft combine, but the search turned back to Saunders.
Saunders, 33, finished the Timberwolves’ season as interim coach after the midseason firing of Tom Thibodeau and earned the endorsement of All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Saunders has made a strong impression on ownership and senior management, including Rosas, who has spent a dozen or so hours meeting with him since Rosas’ recent appointment to run the Wolves’ basketball operations.
Minnesota is also hiring Brooklyn’s Gianluca Pascucci as an assistant GM, league sources told ESPN. Pascucci was the Nets’ Director of Global Scouting and had previously worked closely with Rosas in Houston.