9:58pm: Taylor discussed the job with Thibodeau and Brooks the same night the Wolves ended their season, shortly before announcing the team was looking for a new coach and president of basketball operations, a person close to the situation told Jerry Zgoda of the Minnesota Star-Tribune. The head coaching position and president of basketball operations opening will likely be filled by one man, Zgoda adds.
5:27pm: Sources who spoke with Stein downplayed Thibodeau’s interest in personnel power, saying the Timberwolves and not Thibodeau first raised the idea of a dual coach/executive role. Stein’s sources add that Thibodeau considers the strength of a team’s roster and its commitment to winning as the most important factors, presumably meaning Thibodeau is more concerned with those elements than with front office control (Twitter links).
2:17pm: The job appeals to Thibodeau in large measure because it’s the only one currently available that would give him full player personnel authority, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix of The Vertical. Van Gundy isn’t as determined to have front office control, Wojnarowski and Mannix hear. Taylor is expected to be willing to go as high as $7MM a year for the right candidate, according to the league sources who spoke with the Vertical reporters. The Korn Ferry search firm has pegged Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden and Grizzlies executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski as potential candidates for the GM job should the team hire either Thibodeau or Van Gundy as coach/president of basketball operations, as Wojnarowski and Mannix detail, adding that the fate of existing GM Milt Newton remains up in the air.
11:26am: The expectation is growing in coaching circles that Minnesota will hire either Van Gundy or Thibodeau, who have become co-favorites for the job, Stein and Windhorst write in a full story.
MONDAY, 11:15am: Taylor interviewed Thibodeau this weekend and is set to meet with Van Gundy today, report Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
FRIDAY, 4:59pm: The Timberwolves have meetings scheduled regarding their vacant head coaching position with Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau, league sources have informed Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The meetings are expected to take place within the next few days, Wojnarowski adds. Minnesota’s coaching targets also reportedly include Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger and Scott Brooks. Brooks hasn’t yet up a meeting with Minnesota at this time, but there are tentative plans for Wizards officials to visit with him next week, Wojnarowski relays. The former Thunder coach is Washington’s top priority, Wojnarowski notes.
Minnesota team owner Glen Taylor will be a part of the interviews that will include the executive firm Korn Ferry, which has been coordinating the coaching search, Wojnarowski writes. The owner hired the firm to help in the hunt for a new coach as well as a new president of basketball operations, though the team may elect to hire one person for both slots, as Wojnarowski and Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press reported previously. Korn Ferry played a major role in the hiring of Stan Van Gundy as the top basketball executive and coach with the Pistons and Taylor has been pushing for the firm’s research and input into the possible recreation of the Pistons’ model with the Timberwolves, the Vertical scribe also relays.
The franchise parted ways with interim coach Sam Mitchell on Wednesday, with Taylor saying in his official statement, “The future of the Minnesota Timberwolves has never been brighter. It’s important that we find the best leaders to shape our talented team and help them realize their full potential. We owe it to our fans, our community and to our players to ensure our team has the best possible chance at winning an NBA title.” Minnesota went just 29-53 this season under Mitchell, which was a significant improvement over last season’s 16-66 record.