Timberwolves Lead

Potential Replacement Options for Thibodeau

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Following a 22-point win over the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Timberwolves relieved Tom Thibodeau of his head coaching and presidential duties, per Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

The timing of the move has just about everyone confused. After a blowout win midway through the season, you don’t often see a coach fired. Usually, it takes a big loss or a bad move to strike a firing like this, but Wolves owner Glen Taylor decided the time for Thibs to go is now.

Thibodeau coached the Timberwolves for 204 games, sporting a 97-107 record. His 97 wins are tied with Rick Adelman for second most in franchise history. He made two of the biggest trades in recent NBA history– both including Jimmy Butler. He signed veterans to help a young core grow, but all of these moves leave the ever-stagnant Wolves, well, stagnant in a tough Western Conference.

His poor minute management of players more than likely led to his demise. He overplays his starters and has a tendency to keep young players on the bench, slowing their development. Andrew Wiggins has also had his worst years of his career under Coach Thibodeau.

Replacement Possibilities

For now and what looks to be the rest of the season, assistant coach Ryan Saunders — son of the late and former coach Flip Saunders — will take over head coaching duties. Scott Layden will assume the roll of GM.

Option 1: Fred Hoiberg

Immediately after Thibodeau’s firing, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that former Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was the leading candidate for the position. His fit would be somewhat unclear, as his stint in Chicago was less than impressive.

Option 2: Chauncey Billups

Former NBA All-Star and NBA Champion Chauncey Billups has also been brought up as a potential replacement for Thibodeau. Billups has been thought of as an NBA head coaching candidate for a few years now. He was offered the position in Cleveland this past summer, but turned that down.

Option 3: Monty Williams

Philadelphia’s Monty Williams was a candidate for the job in the original search in which Minnesota ultimately hired Thibodeau. A family tragedy occurred during that time and he understandably declined to return to head coaching so he could attend to that. With that now aside, The T-Wolves could include him in their next search.

Option 4: Mark Jackson

Another option is ESPN color commentator Mark Jackson. Jackson was extremely important to the development of young Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He also played in the NBA for 17 years. Jackson understands the league climate and could be an immediate fit for the Wolves.

The Timberwolves will play their first game under interim head coach Ryan Saunders Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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