Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors
Thibodeau’s five-year run in Chicago certainly ended controversially and definitely left many wondering “what if”, but it he knew it wouldn’t be long before taking another position like the one he accepted to become coach and president of the Minnesota Timberwolves this spring. As usual, he was gracious about the time he spent in Chicago, and the city itself. “A lot of great memories. Five years coaching and I stayed last year,” Thibodeau said. “I love the city, the fans were great to me the whole time. You look back, you think of all the great memories you have. Great history, great tradition and we had great guys. It was very enjoyable to coach that team.”
Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan have already retired after this past season, and Kevin Garnett still hasn’t decided whether to return for another year. “It may go down as the greatest retirement summer in NBA history,” Rivers said, hailing the competitiveness of that group. “The biggest thing, I think, those guys knew how to play. Kevin’s knowledge of the game — and Kevin doesn’t want to hear it, I literally talked to Kevin last night — but Kevin could be the greatest big man teacher in the game right now if he wanted to be. Whenever he did do it in practice there’s no one better than that. Paul Pierce is an NBA encyclopedia. You can ask Paul Pierce any historical question about the NBA. He knows it, he studies it, he loves it. Duncan’s the same way. What’s neat about all three of them (is) they’re all completely different individuals. I’ve never seen three different people, and Kobe can be four different individuals, yet all great in their own right.”
Rivers has discussed Garnett’s impact on the Celtics organization plenty of times before, but reflected on it again with Wojnarowski. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rivers said. “It’s the biggest culture change that I’ve ever seen by one NBA player. Now I didn’t believe it from afar. I always looked at Kevin like, there’s no way some guy’s that excited every night and that nuts. And when he joined our team, his energy at practice, his energy on the airplane — I used to get on our guys, they played cards and stayed up talking about the game the entire East to West flights. And I used to get concerned, like guys, you’ve got to sleep at some point. That team never slept. It was a crazy ride and a great group, but they lived on something else because when Tom Thibodeau is sleeping more than the players you know something’s wrong. And that was the group. It was just a great group, but it was all driven by Kevin, his willingness to sacrifice. The biggest thing with Kevin that I wish the stars understood the most is he had this ability to be coached and to trust. And when he gives his trust to me as a coach, then it’s easier to coach the team. I mean complete trust. Duncan (was) very similar in that right.”
“Every coach, and I say this whenever I speak at clinics, should have had the right to coach Kevin for one minute,” Rivers added. “It would have made their lives better. It would have made them better coaches because when you can get on him — and I got on him — and he says yes sir, I’m sorry, my fault. Some of the times later when I watched I may have been wrong. He still took it. It makes your job really easy.”
With Marc Gasol out of the picture, Spain have announced their final roster for the Rio Olympics that start in just over a week. Eurobasket 2015 MVP Pau Gasol is included and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio makes his return to the international fold after two years. He also makes his first Olympic appearance since the 2008 Beijing Olympics after missing the London Games with a torn ACL. Veteran Juan Carlos Navarro makes his fourth Olympic appearance in what is likely to be the EuroLeague’s all-time leading scorer’s final international showing.
Karl-Anthony Towns grew up in New Jersey. He loves it there. But it’s not home anymore. “A lot of times, I talk to my friends and family and I’m always trying to rush back to Minnesota,” Towns said Wednesday during his basketball camp at Hopkins High School. “This is where I call home.” This being the spot where Towns — the 2015-16 NBA rookie of the year — has spent just one season. But already he seems to have entrenched himself. “I have a lot of my blood and sweat and tears here,” Towns said. “I have a certain thing with Minnesota. I always want to come back here.”