Fired by the Bulls in part because of conflicts with management, Thibodeau negotiated the president of basketball operations title into his Wolves deal. “It wasn’t an absolute must, but I’m glad it has worked out that way,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure I had a voice. The person I’m with, I trust Scott. He has great integrity. He’s a great worker and he has great experience.”
When I talked to Thibodeau on the phone Thursday, he verified that he didn’t talk to the search firm hired by Wolves owner Glen Taylor until Wednesday. … He also said he was not going to hire any assistants until he visits with the current Wolves staff. All of the assistant coaches under him in his last year coaching the Bulls got NBA jobs after Thibodeau was fired. His 2014-2015 staff included Adrian Griffin (now with Orlando), Andy Greer (Toronto), Ed Pinckney (Denver) and Mike Wilhelm, the only assistant Fred Hoiberg, Thibodeau’s successor, kept with the Bulls.
Jared Dudley: My money on Thibs! - RT: R Fields: T-wolves still not making playoffs next year. Hard to improve 13-15 games on single season.
The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has agreed to terms with Tom Thibodeau as President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach, and Scott Layden as General Manager. Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not released.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Tom Thibodeau back to the Timberwolves,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “Through this process we quickly identified Tom as the best leader to shape our talented team and help them realize their full potential. Tom’s resume speaks for itself. He is a proven winner, leader and one of the most well-respected NBA head coaches over the last decade."
"His teams have annually been among the league leaders in defense and we are excited about the approach and mentality he will bring to that side of the ball. The future of the Minnesota Timberwolves has never been brighter and we are very pleased to have Tom as our basketball operations leader moving forward,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor.
“Scott Layden brings over 30 years of experience in the NBA to his new role within our organization, including several years in basketball operations leadership positions with Utah, New York and most recently San Antonio. His decades of front office experience will be integral as we head into an extremely exciting time for our organization. In getting to know Scott, he has impressed me with his not only his basketball acumen, but also his character and integrity. Tom and Scott will work in concert together in shaping our roster moving forward. We are confident this partnership gives us the best chance possible of winning an NBA title.”
Jon Krawczynski: BREAKING: AP Source says Tom Thibodeau has signed contract and is the Timberwolves coach and President of Bball ops
Tom Thibodeau always believed he could lure free agents to the Los Angeles Lakers, that the proper structure and vision still makes that franchise the ultimate superstar destination. Thibodeau always had his eyes on the most glamorous job in basketball, but the Lakers hesitated and missed the chance to recruit him.
LaMarcus Aldridge was dying for the Lakers to blow him away in a free-agent presentation on July 1 and left the room deflated over the parade of marketing and partnership suits that sold him on the residual impacts of playing for the Lakers. Had that been a Tom Thibodeau basketball presentation to Aldridge, there are those who believe Aldridge would’ve been swayed to sign there.
Marc Stein: ESPN sources say that Tom Thibodeau's negotiations with the Timberwolves are nearing completion and on course to be finalized by day's end
Jackson and the Knicks did not reach out to ex-Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to discuss the club's vacancy before Thibodeau agreed to accept the Minnesota Timberwolves' offer to become coach and team president on Wednesday, sources said.
Jon Krawczynski: Just to be clear: The deal between Wolves and Thibs is not done. But it's very close. Just a few minor hurdles to jump.
Andy Greder: Confirming #Twolves-Tom Thibodeau working on a contract, but doesn't sound like more news is imminent today, a source with knowledge said.
Ian Begley: Phil Jackson and the Knicks did not talk to Tom Thibodeau about their coaching vacancy before Thibs took Minnesota job, league sources say.
Thibodeau has a strong relationship with Timberwolves' legend Kevin Garnett, who plans to play another season with the team. Garnett has had aspirations of joining the team's ownership group upon retirement. Thibodeau and Garnett were part of Boston's 2008 NBA championship team.
Marc Stein: Sources say Wolves owner Glen Taylor has been eyeing Tom Thibodeau for months and, one week into the offseason, is landing his top target. Have criticized Glen Taylor often for being consistently indecisive ... can only applaud him now for how swiftly the Wolves have moved here.
Thibodeau emerged as the frontrunner in pursuit of the job in recent days, selling owner Glen Taylor on his vision of sustained success and playoff basketball in Minnesota, league sources said. Thibodeau has been drawn to the full control of the organization and the chance to coach a talented young core that includes rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Vincent Goodwill: Minny interviewed Mark Jackson yesterday, and there was no mention of him wanting both roles. Token? Checking a box?
Adrian Wojnarowski: Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden is working on a deal to join Tom Thibodeau as his GM in Minnesota, league sources said.
KC Johnson: There's the playoff $ on which Bulls missed. This will offset the $4.5M Bulls owe Thibs, who lands premier gig. - RT: Adrian Wojnarowski: Tom Thibodeau is finalizing a five-year deal to become president and coach of the Timberwolves, league sources tell @TheVertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Tom Thibodeau is finalizing a five-year deal to become president and coach of the Timberwolves, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Marc Berman: According to Woj, Thibodeau-Scott Layden tandem could happen in Minnesota. Worked together with #Knicks. Layden still has place in Manhattan
Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says the Minnesota Timberwolves are "very lucky" to be able to interview Jeff Van Gundy and former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau for their head-coaching vacancy. Stan, who is Jeff's brother and a friend of Thibodeau's, doesn't think the close friends are "competing" against one another for the job. ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported Monday that Jeff was expected to meet with the Timberwolves on Monday in regard to being both the coach and "face" of basketball operations. Thibodeau completed a similar interview over the weekend.
For his part, Stan doesn't seem surprised that Jeff hasn't coached a team in a while. Jeff last coached the Houston Rockets during the 2006-07 season. "I'm not surprised, because I talk to him all the time," Stan said. "If I was taking the long view of, say, the media, that doesn't know him and doesn't talk to him all the time, yeah, I probably would be surprised. "But he's got a great job. He has a great job, and it's great for him, it's great for his family. He's happy. So it would take a lot. He misses some things about coaching, but it would take a lot. If he takes a job, it's going to be one that he thinks was just a great, great, great situation. Way too good to turn down. He's not going to take anything marginal, I'll tell you that."
Darren Wolfson: Fascinating chat w/ Sam Mitchell. Podcast posts later. Praise for Dieng was off the charts. He's very open to being an ass't again. Should clarify on Mitchell because my wording might've been goofy: he's open to an ass't job anywhere. Also mentioned coaching in college.
Darren Wolfson: Sam didn't want to spill the beans with me, but he will interview tomorrow with the Kings. @Marc Stein 1st on the Kings news. #twolves
Jon Krawczynski: AP Source: The Timberwolves will interview former Warriors coach and ESPN analyst Mark Jackson for the coaching job.
Marc Stein: Footnote on the Wolves' coaching situation: Sources say Minnesota is the party pitching the coach/team president scenario, NOT Tom Thibodeau.
Van Gundy's interview was arranged to be conducted Monday in Cleveland, where he called Sunday's Cavaliers-Pistons playoff game in Cleveland for ESPN.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves completed a similar interview over the weekend with former Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who broke into NBA coaching as a Timberwolves assistant during their expansion season in 1989-90.
Thibodeau wants to have final say on player personnel, organizational philosophy and hirings, league sources said, and that’s only available with the Minnesota opening now.
Taylor is expected to be willing to pay a $7 million-a-year package to an elite candidate, comparable to Stan Van Gundy’s deal with Detroit, league sources said.
The growing expectation in coaching circles is that the Wolves will choose either Van Gundy or Thibodeau to take over the team as coach/team president, with the ability to bring in a seasoned front-office executive to assist with day-to-day operations. The Timberwolves fired interim coach Sam Mitchell on April 14. Mitchell, who took over as coach after Flip Saunders died in October, led the team to a 29-53 record.
Marc Stein: Story going online with @WindhorstESPN: Wolves owner Glen Taylor interviewed Tom Thibodeau over the weekend and meets Jeff Van Gundy today
The Minnesota Timberwolves have meetings set with the two top targets of the franchise’s basketball operations and coaching search: Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy, league sources told The Vertical.
Those meetings are expected to happen in the next few days, sources said. Minnesota owner Glen Taylor will be a part of the interviews that will include the executive firm Korn Ferry, which has been coordinating the search, league sources said.
Brian Windhorst: Wolves will begin coaching search tomorrow & it won't include Sam Mitchell, sources said. On Wolves list is Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger
Darren Wolfson: Over at #Twolves. Asked both Wiggins and Shabazz if they want Sam back. Zero hesitation, goofy body language, etc. and both said yes.
Jon Krawczynski: To be clear: The search will be for a new president of basketball ops and coach. Could be the same person, could not be.
Among the five interim jobs, the Knicks (Kurt Rambis), Timberwolves (Sam Mitchell) and Suns (Earl Watson) are expected to give the incumbents strong looks, sources say. Barring something unforeseen, Tony Brown in Brooklyn and J.B. Bickerstaff in Houston will be moving on.
Andy Greder: #Twolves interim coach Sam Mitchell said he spoke to Glen Taylor about a search firm used to hire next coach. He remains confident.
Sam Mitchell has the support of Wolves veteran Kevin Garnett, whose endorsement does have impact with owner Glen Taylor. Garnett is expected to eventually have an ownership stake in the team upon his retirement.
Jon Krawczynski: AP sources: Wolves will open head coaching search, using a search firm to aid process, confirming @Adrian Wojnarowski report.
Darren Wolfson: #Twolves owner Glen Taylor is in NYC for an #NBA function. Said many people have come up to him saying how impressed they were last night. Taylor said Sam's future is all his call. But he'll talk to Milt/others. "Sooner the better" on a time-frame for a decision. #twolves
Taylor was asked if it would be difficult to fire the coaching staff and front office that has helped develop those players. “I like my coach [Sam Mitchell], I like my general manager [Milt Newton], they’re really nice people,” Taylor said. “We’re working together. What I told them is in this business of basketball, we’re going to do the whole season first and then at the end of the season we’ll do the evaluation.”
You don't see this every day: Kevin Garnett came over to the media after this morning's shootaround without being requested for an interview because, he said, he had some things to say before tonight's game against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Much of it was to express support for interim head coach and his former teammate, Sam Mitchell, and the direction the 14-35 Wolves are headed. "I feel real good about the progression of this team since Day 1 and I think it needs to be said and needs to be understood that I'm endorsing Sam Mitchell and our coaching staff and this organization," he said. "More importantly, I'm excited about our future. I'm excited about our young players. I feel like we're getting better. These last 10, 15 games, we've gotten better. You see it and I think that needs to be said. I think you all need to understand we're supportive around here."
"Just because I haven't done a lot of interviews and voiced my opinion on a lot of things," he told three of us media members gathered, "I want you guys to understand that not only do I endorse Sam Mitchell, but the other players do, too. We believe not only in him, but the system and what we're trying to do here. I think everybody needs to understand that. The transformation and what we're trying to do here is build something for the future and these are the first steps of that. I don't really come to you guys a lot and say two weeks, but I just want you guys to know that needs to be heard and said."
But nearly half the roster of 15 players privately expressed concerns to The Associated Press about Mitchell that centered on three basic tenets: His outdated offensive system, his tendency to platoon his rotations and a lack of personal accountability for the struggles. The players spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly criticize their head coach.
Mitchell said he can't be concerned with his job status. "It's bigger than me. And I learned that a long time ago," Mitchell said. "It may turn out that I'm here to see it (through). But it may turn out I'm not. The people in this league know there's a certain way we have to do this." The team is 2-3 after a miserable 1-13 stretch, and Mitchell likes what he sees. "There's no other team I'd rather coach right now," Mitchell said. "These young guys are turning into pros before our eyes."
"It's not fun. Sometimes unfair," LaVine said. "But he's the coach, I'm the player and sometimes that's what you have to deal with. You can't really do anything about it but play good on the court."
"I talk to the players. I talk to the coaches," Glen Taylor said. "I'm glad that they're frustrated. I'm sure they're trying very hard in practice to improve their skills. I know they want to win. I'm confident that it's just going to be some game that we win against somebody that probably has a better team than us and it just kind of gets us going."
"If anything at the beginning of the year I said I needed to be patient. If anything I have learned this year I probably have to be even more patient," Taylor said before the Timberwolves beat Memphis on Saturday. Taylor told Mitchell at the start of the season that he would give the coach the season to perform before making a complete evaluation and he plans to keep that timeline. "I've got to realize where we're at and I've just got to stay with the coaching and stay with the players and not do something that disrupts the long-term plans," Taylor said.
Taylor also said during an interview that Sam Mitchell, appointed as interim coach when Saunders was hospitalized, will direct the team this season. Milt Newton will have expanded duties as the team’s general manager. “Sometimes, positives can happen,” Taylor said. “In this particular case, let’s see what these people do, let’s see what their leadership is. Going through difficult times, maybe we’ll see people bloom into what they might not have been otherwise.”
August 1, 2021 | 1:11 am EDT Update
Mark Schanowski: Watching NBA TV’s free agency special. Well respected @ChrisBHaynes reports unless there’s a major “hiccup”, sources tell him Lonzo Ball intends to work out a contract with the Bulls. Pelicans are going hard after free agent PG Kyle Lowry.
On a recent edition of the “Smartless,” podcast, James’ legendary father said he hopes to retire as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. “I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” James said on the podcast, according to CBS Sports. “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something … It’s like me being in ‘Space Jam’ — I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), and Magic (Johnson), and Wilt (Chamberlin), and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe (Bryant), (Shaquille O’Neal) and all of them. The whole list goes on.”
“I have never said that. I laughed when I saw it cuz I’ve literally never said that. I’ve been seeing a lot of things being said. I’ve been as open about the situation as I could possibly be.” Damian Lillard on rumors that he’d give up money to be traded.
Abbott went through the details of the two’s public sparring on Twitter and the backlash he received before getting into the conversation with Lillard: “I published it and tweeted it, and then he like, retweeted it with the facepalm emoji, and then he talked to reporters and said that none of it was true. And then, I tweeted … after like a day of epic meltdown, everything in my mentions was a nightmare of people saying I’m a liar and making up stories, I’m bad at my job. And some of that just comes with the business. This was like a lot. I’ve been doing this for a long time. This was a lot. So, then I basically write what you just said Jarod. And then, Damian immediately replied to that saying he doesn’t lie. Then, he started direct messaging me and he’s in Tokyo at the Olympics, so we’re direct messaging, just like hammering away, trying to straighten it out. Then my phone rings and it’s Aaron Goodwin, who is Damian Lillard’s agent. I think I’ve known Aaron Goodwin longer than Damian has. Like, Aaron and I go way back. We’ve been through a lot of stuff, and I hold him in tremendously-high regards in a lot of ways.”
Abbott said that he wouldn’t be transparent about everything he and Lillard discussed when he requested to speak with him. But, he did share a story of Lillard’s positive vibe, even in the middle of the discussion. “Most of what happened on the phone call I’m just not going to share. It’s private. It was Dame and I getting to know each other? Actually at one point, I will tell you this funny part. I’m like, you know, ‘This thing happened, this thing happened, Twitter’s like a warzone for me now, and it’s my birthday. And Aaron starts talking, everyone starts talking, and Dame’s just like, ‘Henry, Henry, Henry, happy birthday, man.’ I’m like ‘Thank you, Dame.’”
Outside of those anecdotes, Abbott said that he called the “Dream Team” of people who would know Lillard’s leverage and control, continually insisting that neither party lied. He noted that there’s only one way out of Portland in Lillard’s case, and it would be similar to James Harden, skipping training camp, having the front office question if he’s going to give 100 percent, etc. The link to the rest of the podcast, for those interested, can be found above.
Tim Reynolds: It’s now Sunday in the US, meaning free agency starts tomorrow there, so it’s probably time to say this: Per source, when it comes to Kyle Lowry, the Miami Heat “have his attention and have had it for a while.” Buckle up, kids.
Would DeRozan realistically consider a pay cut that steep this late in his career? Constructing a sign-and-trade is another avenue but also difficult. I’d be curious to see whether the Clippers would consider placing themselves under a hard cap that would be triggered by a sign-and-trade. BT: The Lakers need shooting. One name that is coming up is Patty Mills. He can shoot the lights out and would be great off the bench. Wayne Ellington is another shooter who has interest in rejoining the Lakers. Trevor Ariza and Andre Iguodala are veteran wings who are candidates.