Wolves, Tom Thibodeau Finalizing Deal

1:49pm: Newton has the option to remain with the organization in a role that would put him under Thibodeau and Layden, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

12:22pm: The Wolves and Thibodeau are now finalizing that deal, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

12:21pm: Thibodeau and the Wolves are close to a deal that would give him about $10MM a year as coach and president of basketball operations, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s conceivable Thibodeau will end up with an $11MM salary, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt hears (Twitter link), which would mean Minnesota would be going up from the earlier-reported $11MM figure for both Thibodeau and Layden.

11:56am: The Timberwolves and Tom Thibodeau are having serious talks toward a deal that would make him the team’s coach and president of basketball operations, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links). Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden would become Minnesota’s GM in that scenario, Wojnarowski adds. Layden has spoken with the Wolves within the past few days about assuming the role of GM in a Thibodeau-led front office, according to Wojnarowski.

The Wolves are negotiating around a figure of $11MM in combined annual salaries for Thibodeau and Layden, as Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities hears (Twitter link). Still, several moving parts exist as the discussions continue, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press, suggesting the talks could drag on for a while. A previous report from Wojnarowski and Vertical colleague Chris Mannix suggests the Wolves were willing to go as high as $7MM annually for Thibodeau.

Minnesota has also reportedly interviewed Jeff Van Gundy for the coach/executive gig that Thibodeau is gunning for, and Mark Jackson apparently interviewed for the coaching job Tuesday. Thibodeau has nonetheless been the leading candidate throughout the team’s search and people around the league believe it’s inevitable that the Wolves will hire him, according to Krawczynski (Twitter links). Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times reported earlier this week that people around the league were convinced Thibodeau would end up in Minnesota, where he still feels a comfort from his time as an assistant coach there from 1989-91, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Korn Ferry, the search firm that Wolves owner Glen Taylor has used in the process, turned up Layden and Grizzlies executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski as possible candidates for the GM job, as Wojnarowski and Mannix reported earlier. Layden has previously served as the primary basketball executive of the Jazz, from 1992-99, before moving on to the Knicks from 1999-2003. He returned to the Jazz and spent several years as an assistant coach before the Spurs hired him in September 2012.

Question remains over what becomes of GM Milt Newton, who has been in control of Minnesota’s front office since former coach/executive Flip Saunders took a leave of absence in September to deal with complications from cancer treatment that proved to be fatal. Newton held the GM title under Saunders, who was president of basketball operations, the same title Thibodeau will apparently have, but the presence of Layden would appear to marginalize Newton.

The Timberwolves and Thibodeau engaged in “cursory contact” months ago, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, and Thibodeau has been a rumored candidate for just about every opening that’s emerged since the Bulls fired him last year. Taylor has been eyeing him for months, Stein hears (Twitter link), and armed with an intriguing young roster and the willingness to bestow the personnel power Thibodeau has reportedly sought, Minnesota appears to have landed the prime target on the coaching market.

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