Latest On Thibodeau, Saunders, Timberwolves

After reaching out to Tyronn Lue when the former Cavaliers head coach was let go earlier this season, Doc Rivers didn’t waste any time doing the same with Tom Thibodeau once Thibs was dismissed by the Timberwolves on Sunday. According to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times, it’s not yet clear how involved Thibodeau might be with the Clippers, but it sounds like he’ll at least share some thoughts with Rivers over the course of the season.

“Tom will be around,” Rivers said on Monday. “Tom’s around even when he’s not. He watches every NBA game, so the one thing with Tom is he’s going to be working at home even without the job, that’s what he does. And he’s another guy who loves the game of basketball. And for me, I love people who love the game.”

Like Lue, Thibodeau was an assistant on Rivers’ staff in Boston years ago, so it makes sense that the Clippers’ coach would reach out to him. Lue’s role with the Clips is an informal one, and it sounds like the club might go that same route with Thibodeau.

Here’s more on Thibodeau, the Timberwolves, and new interim head coach Ryan Saunders:

  • Karl-Anthony Towns said today that he and his teammates were stunned by the news of Thibodeau’s firing, and that “no one saw it coming,” as Malika Andrew of relays. Towns admitted he was just telling Minnesota’s assistant coaches last week that the organization seemed to be gaining some much-needed stability. “I jinxed that badly,” Towns said.
  • When asked on Monday what changes he’d bring to the Timberwolves, Saunders said he wanted to be introduce a more “collaborative” approach, writes Michael Rand of The Star Tribune. That was an interesting answer, according to Rand, who notes that multiple people in the organization have told him that Thibodeau was “notoriously bad at delegating tasks” and “seldom took a collaborative approach to problem-solving.”
  • Dave Campbell of The Associated Press takes a closer look at Saunders, who becomes the youngest active head coach in the NBA. Despite being just 32 years old, Saunders is one of the most respected figures in the organization, says Campbell. “He’s the only coach that’s been here since my rookie year,” said Andrew Wiggins. “There’s been a lot of changes, but I trust him. I have a good relationship with him. I think he’s going to do a great job, especially because you can talk to him.”
  • Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype (link via USA Today) provides a few suggestions for coaches who could be candidates to take over the full-time job in Minnesota.
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