Northwest Notes: Wolves, Westbrook, Layden

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, coach/executive Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden have all made it clear that the team will make its basketball decisions mostly by consensus rather than concentrating power in Thibodeau, despite his title as president of basketball operations, observes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune“For me personally, this is about alignment,” Thibodeau said. “It’s not about power, it’s not about any of that stuff. I’ve known Scott a long time. We’ve shared our philosophies with each other. We feel strongly about certain things. He was the person I really wanted.”

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Russell Westbrook was pleased that Thunder teammate Kevin Durant publicly came to his defense against Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who said the point guard was an “All-Star but not a superstar,” Royce Young of relays. “It was very important [to me],” Westbrook said. “Me and Kevin’s relationship is great. He’s like my brother. We talk about different things, not just basketball-related. He’s always gonna have my back and I’ll always have his.” The strength of the duo’s relationship will likely be the topic of much discussion this offseason as Durant heads into unrestricted free agency.
  • Layden chose to accept his post with the Wolves because of Taylor’s high level of commitment and the presence of Thibodeau, Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune writes. The executive isn’t concerned with what his title is or his level of power, but is instead focused on results, Youngblood notes. “I think if you’re looking for credit, you’re in the wrong place,” Layden said. The GM also echoed Thibs’ sentiments that decision-making would be a group process, telling reporters, “In the end, [Taylor] will probably make the decision, because it’s his money. And we’re going to try to convince him, together, why we need to spend it. … I feel good about this. We’re aligned in how we think. And that’s important.”
  • The Jazz desperately need to turn their cap flexibility for next season into a superstar player this summer via free agency, writes Doug Robinson of The Deseret News. The scribe does praise the efforts of Gordon Hayward but notes that the small forward is better suited to being a team’s second option.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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