Timberwolves Fire Head Coach Tom Thibodeau
It was announced Sunday that the Timberwolves have fired head coach and team president Tom Thibodeau. The Star Tribune reports that owner Glen Taylor and general manager Scott Layden told Thibodeau about their decision to part ways with him not long after the Timberwolves beat the Lakers 108-86 on Sunday. Thibodeau had led the Timberwolves to a 19-21 record up to this point in the season, putting the team at 11th overall in the Western Conference.
NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Timberwolves GM Scott Layden and CEO Ethan Casson walked into Thibodeau's office after the Timberwolves' victory to inform him of their decision. Thibodeau was reportedly surprised by the news.
In a statement from the Timberwolves, it was announced that assistant coach Andy Greer was also released of his duties as part of the decision. Glen Taylor commented in the statement, saying “We would like to thank Tom for his efforts and wish him all the best. These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt them necessary to move our organization forward.”
The team announced that Scott Layden will remain in his role as GM, and assistant coach Ryan Saunders will take on the role of interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Saunders is the son of the late former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders. Ryan Saunders got his start working in the NBA as an assistant with the Washington Wizards, working with the team from 2009-2014. Saunders joined the Timberwolves in 2014, serving as an assistant coach with Minnesota up until the announcement of his promotion to interim head coach Sunday.
Adrian Wojnarowski is also reporting is that the long-term plans for General Manager Scott Layden are unclear; also that Fred Hoiberg and Chauncey Billups have been discussed within the organization as potential head coach or general manager candidates.
Hoiberg and Billups both have ties to the Timberwolves, as both of them having stints as players on the team. Hoiberg also served a role in the Timberwolves front office for a time after retiring from playing before going on to a coaching career first at Iowa State, then for the Chicago Bulls. Hoiberg was fired from his job in Chicago in December of 2018.