Timberwolves Fire Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, Assistant Andy Greer; Team Hires Ryan Saunders As Interim Coach
Thibodeau was fired shortly after Minnesota’s 108-86 home win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Wolves (19-21) are now 11th in the Western Conference.
Minnesota also fired assistant coach Andy Greer, and promoted 32-year-old assistant Ryan Saunders to interim coach to temporarily replace Thibodeau. Saunders’ father, the late Flip Saunders, boasted two stints as Minnesota’s coach.
According to ESPN, Timberwolves general manager Scott Layden‘s tenure with the franchise is uncertain.
NEWS: Timberwolves relieve Tom Thibodeau of his duties.
Assistant Coach Ryan Saunders will assume the role of interim head coach for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
Full release: pic.twitter.com/sleIVTH1sM
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) January 7, 2019
Among the potential candidates to replace Thibodeau — or to fill in at GM — are former Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg and ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups, although the network said neither man has yet been formally contacted by Minnesota. Billups played with Minnesota for two years before joining the Detroit Pistons in free agency.
“We would like to thank Tom for his efforts and wish him all the best,” Wolves owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. “These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt them necessary to move our organization forward.”
According to several reports, Thibodeau’s future with Minnesota became increasingly uncertain following the drama involving Jimmy Butler‘s locker room outburst and trade demand. Butler now plays for the Philadelphia 76ers and has impressed with his new team. Since trading four-time All-Star Butler in November, the Timberwolves have gone 15-12.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also revealed a salty detail regarding Thibodeau and All-star guard Derrick Rose on Twitter on Sunday.
Minnesota has fired coach Tom Thibodeau after Thibodeau was caught spying on former All-Star point guard Derrick Rose in the shower, league sources tell ESPN. Story coming soon.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@eroticwojespn) January 7, 2019
The NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 7, which means Minnesota will have just a few short weeks to decide how it wishes to revamp its roster — if that is what it wants to do, of course.