The Minnesota Timberwolves are planning to open a search for a new president of basketball operations, with owner Glen Taylor preferring to keep general manager Scott Layden and interim coach Ryan Saunders as part of a revised organizational structure, league sources told ESPN.
What do the Timberwolves do with Wiggins after this year? Also, do the Timberwolves clean house and fire both Saunders and Layden? Or just Layden? Sam Amick: @RYAN M. I think Ryan probably gets to hold onto the job, but we shall see. Heard last night that the odds of him getting another crack at it seemed fairly good. Not sure on Scott or Wiggins (just being honest).
Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, said he still wants to see a solid finish before determining interim head coach Ryan Saunders’ future. “I think he has a good chance [to get the job full-time],” Taylor said. “It’s like everything, we’re going to wait until we play out these last 20-some games and I think we’ll know and he’ll know at that time if it works out. But he is off to a good start. “I would just say I really like him as a person. I have known him since he was a young man, and I am really pleased with how he is starting out coaching this team.”
One thing I will say, in talking to people around the league there was some real skepticism about Saunders’ elevation being based more on emotion than basketball. But in the last few weeks, several people I’ve spoken to have been impressed with the way he has handled things, mixed and matched rotations and basically helped keep the Wolves from completely falling off of a cliff during a rash of injuries.
Glen Taylor certainly wishes Fred Hoiberg well. But the Minnesota Timberwolves owner isn't directly pining for his former player and assistant general manager to be leading the Twin Cities charge in the NBA. Not now, anyway. Three days after firing coach Tom Thibodeau following a blowout victory, Taylor reiterated his support for interim coach Ryan Saunders in a scheduled interview with reporters in Des Moines on Wednesday. "We've hired Ryan to be the interim coach, and we’re going to give him the opportunity," Taylor said.
He is going to get a chance to win the permanent job, with sources telling The Athletic that Fred Hoiberg, who was fired by the Bulls earlier this season and previously played for the Wolves and worked in their front office, is not an immediate candidate for the coaching or president’s job. Layden will be given every opportunity to stay on as well, but a playoff berth may be necessary to ensure that happens, sources said.
Ironically, now that Hoiberg has that experience, he might be a candidate to replace Thibodeau again. A league source close to the situation told NBC Sports that Hoiberg could be a candidate to take over in Minnesota where he’d be reunited with owner Glen Taylor. “Glen loves Fred,” the source told NBC Sports.
Thibodeau said he’s “very optimistic” the Wolves will sign Towns to a contract extension before the regular season starts. They have until October’s end to sign him to an extension that could be worth $187 million. If they don’t sign him by then, he’ll become a restricted free agent summer.
On Sirius XM Radio, Sam Mitchell said he thinks it could influence Kevin Garnett's decision to retire, but as of the last time they spoke, K.G. remained undecided. "Last time I talked to him, he hadn't made up his mind. I just think the way last year ended with the owner at the very last minute -- and people don't understand, we all felt pretty good about us. Myself, Milt Newton, and the coaching staff, we all felt pretty good about us coming back. We felt like we did a good enough job to at least earn us a couple of years, a year or two, to keep that thing rolling. And I just think KG was just so hurt by the way things happened."
"For people to send you messages as if you were going to be back and your staff was going to be back and we had everything going in the right direction, and to get a phone call [from owner Glen Taylor] two hours before your last game basically saying, 'I've changed my mind and I'm going in a different direction,' it just kind of knocked us all for a loop. We've all recovered from it and moved on but if you know Kevin, Kevin is very sensitive and he's very loyal. And there was a lot of people in that organization that was let go, and the way it was done just left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouth."
"To be honest with you, I don't know how he's going to deal with that. Kevin takes that stuff personally and it's going to be interesting to see ultimately what he decides to do. It's a shame that if he doesn't come back and play, that his last year in Minnesota ended the way it did."
John Schuhmann: Tom Thibodeau just future endeavor'd a bunch of people in Minnesota, including GM Milt Newton & super-trainer Arnie Kander. “Effective immediately, the following individuals will be relieved of their respective duties: previous General Manager Milt Newton, Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Babcock, Vice President of Sports Performance Arnie Kander, assistant coach Sid Lowe, Director of Sports Performance Koichi Sato, Manager of Team Travel/Facilities Coordinator Bill Hohenecker, Head of Video Department and Manager of Basketball Technology Brice Long and Scouts Milton Barnes and Jason Hervey." https://t.co/zyS9eDRyvs
Jon Krawczynski: Ryan Saunders, David Adelman, Bryan Gates among the names not listed in the announcement. I expect Saunders back for sure. Others? We'll see
But it seems more likely that he will receive extensive interest throughout the league as an associate head coach or as a lead assistant coach. One possibility is the Minnesota Timberwolves, where Tom Thibodeau now runs the basketball operations department and works as the head coach. Griffin used to coach on Thibodeau’s staff when Thibodeau worked for the Chicago Bulls.
There has been a lot of misinformation written about Joerger, his status and coaching possibilities. Joerger was no more considered for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ vacancy than he sat on the hot seat during the first month of the season. Both reports were erroneous. The truth of the Minnesota situation is that opportunity essentially passed away with the late Flip Saunders. It’s also rare that franchises pursue coaches under contract so it’s unlikely that Joerger will be considered for current openings. With that said, Joerger will probably seek more of a commitment from the Grizzlies. The last guaranteed year on his deal is for the 2016-17 season. No coach likes to enter a season as a lame-duck coach.
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.
June 18, 2021 | 11:16 pm EDT Update
Lowe and Sixers analyst Spike Eskin discussed Simmons’ plummeting trade value on this week’s edition of The Lowe Post. His lack of shooting and floor spacing during the playoffs might be impacting his utility and the price he could draw on the NBA market. “I have news for Philly fans, the GMs of the other teams watch the playoffs very very closely. And there are definitely teams that I have talked to in the last 48 hours who were once in on Simmons, who say, at lease to me, it could be posturing, “eh, we’re a little less in than we used to be.”
Of course, the Knicks could also look to package those picks in a trade for a star player. Including this draft, New York has five first-round picks in the next three drafts. So the club has plenty of draft capital to use in a trade. If a star like Damian Lillard somehow becomes available via trade, New York would have to offer that draft capital in any trade conversations with Portland.
Tom Moore: #Sixers forward Tobias Harris on how the team bounced back from crushing Game 5 loss: ‘When you lose and have expectations, everybody has something to say.’ He said he turned his cell phone off.
Noah Levick: Doc Rivers: Sixers told Tyrese Maxey before the game he’d be on the floor late with Ben Simmons, since the Sixers would need a ball handler. “I thought this was the best defensive night of the season for him. Just really proud of him.”