Fred Hoiberg Rumors
“Well, I think offense wasn’t really too much of an issue last year,” Gasol said on a conference call from South Africa, where he’s taking part in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders event, which culminates with the first-ever NBA exhibition in Africa on Aug. 1. “We have a lot of talent offensively, and I think we’ll play with better flow offensively with Fred. We’ll have more freedom to play in transition and explore our abilities as individuals and as a team. As long as we understand that defense wins championships and makes the difference, and make sure we don’t neglect that side, we should be fine.”
Ronny Turiaf: A few weeks after my surgery, I reached out to Fred Hoiberg, who also underwent surgery for an enlarged aorta. His procedure happened three weeks before mine, and he walked me through every single issue I could ever encounter. He gave me moral support and told me everything was going to be okay. That meant a lot to me, because when you rehab from heart surgery, little scares come up all the time. There is so much to know and worry about, so every conversation with Fred was as priceless as the last. That’s why when I joined the Timberwolves in 2013, I chose Fred’s number. I’d always worn 21 whenever possible, but I wasn’t touching Kevin Garnett’s number, out of respect. So Clayton Wilson, the equipment manager, mentioned wearing 32 in honor of Fred, and we thought it was a great idea. What a wonderful rite of passage, and a way to honor someone who played for the Timberwolves and had such an impact in the Minnesota community.
Ronny Turiaf: When I think about the last ten years, I view it as a journey of self-discovery. The nomadic lifestyle I enjoy. Being open to new experiences. Exploring life to the limit. It’s been a fun ride. There’s a quote by Martin Lawrence: “Live this life until the wheels fall off.” That’s what I’m doing. I never wanted my heart surgery to define me, but then I learned to tap into the darkness that came with it to live my life fully. I embraced that basketball can allow me to touch lives. I’ve left a mark with my Heart To Heart Foundation. Fred Hoiberg was my mentor, and I’ve in turn reached out to other players like Jeff Green, Etan Thomas, Chuck Hayes and Channing Frye, who’ve faced similar challenges. I now enjoy that people see me as the guy who had open heart surgery. If I can use that to help other people, I’m all about it.
This is a tough act to follow. Jason Kidd walked into a 15-victory situation with Milwaukee last season and is lauded for helping the Bucks reach .500. If the Bulls win 41 games this season, after finishing 50-32, it will be considered a disaster. You ready for that pressure? Fred Hoiberg: Look, Tom Thibodeau did an unbelievable job with this team. I’m looking to come in and build off a lot of things he did. The thing I’m excited about with this group is, they’ve got a great defensive identity. They’ve been taught very well. When you go to rebuilding situations — which a lot of college coaches do — it’s very difficult to come in and have immediate success. This job is built for success. That’s the way I’m looking at it. It’s a group of guys, a great mix of veterans and younger players that have a chance to be very good.