- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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The presumed favorite in the Minnesota Timberwolves' quiet search for a new head of basketball operations has pulled out of the running.
San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey, widely billed as the Wolves' No. 1 target, has withdrawn from consideration, according to sources with knowledge of Minnesota's search.
Lindsey is one of only two known external candidates, along with former Indiana Pacers executive David Kahn, to interview for the position, although one source said Friday that former Miami Heat general manager Randy Pfund could soon interview with the Wolves if he already hasn't.
Trying to import a head of basketball operations from San Antonio seemed a wise path for Wolves owner Glen Taylor to follow in his desire to find a new long-term successor on the personnel side to Kevin McHale. Front offices in Cleveland (Danny Ferry and Lance Blanks), Portland (Kevin Pritchard) and Oklahoma City (Sam Presti) are all run by recent Spurs alumni.
Lindsey could not be immediately reached for comment. The Spurs said Friday that he's in Germany this weekend scouting the EuroBasket final.
In his second season with the Spurs after more than a decade with the Houston Rockets, Lindsey was similarly courted by the Atlanta Hawks during last season's playoffs but felt he couldn't leave the Spurs after less than a year in San Antonio.
The Wolves have also been repeatedly linked with Blanks -- one of Ferry's top aides with the Cavaliers -- but sources close to the process say that Minnesota has not interviewed Blanks or even sought permission from the Cavs to speak with him.
Taylor has stated repeatedly that head coach is the only position open to McHale if he wishes to stay with the organization. But Taylor has also made it clear that his new hire will have final say on whether to retain McHale as coach, despite the fact that McHale is liked by Wolves cornerstones Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.
"If I'm going to have a person in charge of basketball operations, I want that person to be comfortable with who is going to coach here," Taylor recently told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
The Wolves went 20-43 after McHale replaced Randy Wittman in December, but they posted a 10-4 record in January before losing Jefferson to a season-ending knee injury on Feb. 8.
Kahn's most recent basketball experience took place in the D-League, but he is a longtime favorite of NBA commissioner David Stern, who is believed to have referred him to Taylor.
Bringing in a new voice, after McHale's 16 seasons with the organization, is a departure from the committee-style management team Minnesota has employed in recent years. Jim Stack and Fred Hoiberg, who had been working as assistants to McHale, were also interviewed for the top job but are no longer believed to be under consideration, although Hoiberg is a Taylor favorite who would appear to have a good shot at staying with the organization in some capacity.
Taylor is expected to make his choice before the May 19 draft lottery, when the Wolves will learn the placement of the best of its three first-round picks in the June 25.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.