Timberwolves Fire Tom Thibodeau

The Timberwolves have fired Tom Thibodeau as their head coach and president of basketball operations, according to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (via Twitter). After dealing with the Jimmy Butler fiasco, the Timberwolves currently sit at 19-21 and are on the outside looking in on the Western Conference playoff picture.

Krawczynski is also reporting that Ryan Saunders will take over as head coach on an interim basis while Scott Layden will still serve as the team’s general manager.

Meanwhile, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that Fred Hoiberg is a serious candidate to become the team’s GM or coach. Hoiberg previously served as the Timberwolves’ assistant GM before leaving to be the head coach at Iowa State University. Wojnarowski also believes that Monty Williams may emerge as a serious candidate for the coaching position due to previous interest that the Timberwolves had in bringing Williams in as head coach.

Team owner Glen Taylor spoke to the media about the decision to fire Thibodeau, stating that “we’ve gone up through halfway through the season and I don’t think we’re where we thought we would be or where we think we should be.” Taylor also expressed a desire to make the playoffs, believing that making such a change with half the season left may give the Wolves a chance to do so.

In two and a half seasons with the Timberwolves, Thibodeau had a 96-107 regular season record, leading the club to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004. However, his decision to acquire Butler from his old team in Chicago ultimately led to his downfall. Although the All-NBA swingman helped Minnesota win 47 games in 2017/18, his offseason trade request – and Thibodeau’s initial reluctance to grant that request – created several weeks of drama within the organization and didn’t reflect well on Thibs.

Thibodeau’s firing represents a continuation of a trend in the NBA’s head coaching ranks. Within the last two years, four head coaches who held president of basketball operations titles within their respective organizations have had those responsibilities removed or have been fired altogether. Mike Budenholzer (Hawks), Doc Rivers (Clippers), and Stan Van Gundy (Pistons) were the others. Gregg Popovich of the Spurs is now the only NBA head coach who is also his team’s head of basketball operations.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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29 thoughts on “Timberwolves Fire Tom Thibodeau

  1. Richard Hangslow

    Who didn’t see this coming? Hoiberg as coach would be so T-Wolves.

  2. TJECK109

    When your entire game plan going in was to bring as many previous bulls players that he had coached to the team he was bound to fail.

  3. Loren Polonsky

    Kind of strange that it would happen after a run-away win. My guess is he won’t join the Sixers staff anytime soon.

  4. omar jimenez

    I would have rode the season out. Thibs getting the most out of Rose, and see if Wiggins can step it up. Tough western conference. I’m not Thibs biggest fan, but too early for me.

    • Jason Lancaster

      Woj wrote that Thibs had a bad relationship with the PR department and the business side of the team. Season ticket renewals start next month.

      If they want to sell renewals, hiring Hoiberg or Billups might help build some excitement for next season.

      Glenn Taylor is the worst.

  5. julyn82001

    Didn’t Thibs took then to the playoff last year after so many down seasons!? Sports is more a business these days than anything else… Either you win constantly or you are out…

    • Luckylefty2

      I’m pretty sure jimmy butler did(not thibs) and now he is gone. Thibs gave away a lot of young assets to only have jimmy butler for one season.

  6. jeb39999

    It is Time to deal vets to create opportunities for the youngsters, Thibs would have only interfered with that process

  7. TJECK109

    I think Tibs started opening the door for his exit when he was openly against the Butler trade

  8. Grant

    So they fire a former bulls coach in order to hire a former bulls coach in order to coach a roster predominantly made up of former bulls. I wonder if Glen Taylor is going to try and buy the Bulls at some point

  9. Being GM/coach killed him. Right or wrong, a GM has to trade a guy when the owner says so, even if the coach doesn’t like it, or be fired (sooner or later). The fact that he was both doesn’t change that.

    Maybe the team will “de-Thib” roster-wise with some trades.

    • The GM/coach thing is questionable in general. Hard to keep everything in perspective.

  10. nentwigs

    This franchise has been “snake bit” at the top from the get go. Taylor must be a micro manager with respect to his other business interests because he can’t seem to hire a coach or GM to elevate this team of perennial emerging talent to the next level. The sports fans of the Twin Cities are so very hungry for a winner that they will come out in droves to support the first pro franchise of any sport to offer them a glimpse of the promised land.
    I believe that KAHN might still be available for GM!

    • Jason Lancaster

      Taylor is awful. He’s been awful for a long time.

      The team has had a lot of great talent and decent coaching, and yet they’ve never achieved much. The owner is the only constant.

      The NBA needs to seriously consider mandatory team sales if/when the team is always bad.

    • stevep-4

      I worked for his other business for a while. He was really not very hands on, I think the team is more of a hobby. He is like the Wrigleys or other old school owners who bought teams more as a way of showing status. Not sure how much Taylor really knows basketball, and the front office has made some very bad moves over the years.

  11. dust44

    Thibs should of been canned before the season… Over plays his starters. Doesn’t do a good job using the bench or the young guys. Now trade DRose at his peak resurgence for some picks and build around KAT like they should of done instead of trading for Jimmy. LaVine, Dunn And Markkanen would look a hell of a lot better with Wiggins and KAT right now then Teague, Covington and Taj.

      • x%sure

        My original Thibo-deau-tell required the French pronunciation. Even if that is appropriate for the name, it was too… frenchy.

        Anyway, instead of being some assistant somewhere, I think he should burn his bridges and write a tell-all. Sitting in the second row would be too much a fall for his vanité.

  12. Thronson5

    I don’t really get the timing of this. I for sure think he should be let go, he’s made some very questionable decisions with the roster and they aren’t performing but still think it’s odd timing.

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