T-Wolves Writer: "Bubbling Frustration" Over Thibodeau

No one thing led to Tom Thibodeau's dismissal in Minnesota. Rather, it was many things, Chris Hine said

January 08, 2019 - 8:47 am

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The Minnesota Timberwolves fired head coach and team president Tom Thibodeau on Sunday, this after less than three years on the job. Thibodeau, 60, led the Timberwolves to the playoffs last year for the first time since 2004, but are just 19-21 on the season, including 5-15 on the road.

Minnesota has now parted ways with Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler over the last two months.


“After the trade happened, there was little bit of energy and life in the team,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune Timberwolves writer Chris Hine said on Ferrall on the Bench. “They went 9-3 in the first 12 games after the trade, so things were looking up. Then they went on a West Coast road trip in early December and they went 0-4, which included a loss to the bottom-dwelling Phoenix Suns. I think that was the beginning of this tipping point for Thibodeau to be let go.”

The Timberwolves then lost at home to Detroit and Atlanta and on the road against New Orleans, which played without Anthony Davis.

“I think all of this was kind of a critical mass for (Timberwolves owner) Glen Taylor to say, ‘Something is just not working here. If we want to make the playoffs this year, I have to make a move,’” Hine explained. “Obviously these things didn’t happen in a vacuum. There was also just bubbling frustration over the last few years of Thibodeau’s tenure here, and it kind of all came to a head, I think, over the last month.”

Ryan Saunders, 32, has been named interim head coach. His father, Flip Saunders, coached Minnesota from 1995 to 2005 and again from 2014 until his death in October 2015.

Ryan Saunders had served as an assistant in Minnesota since 2014.

“He’s kind of in the driver’s seat to win the job,” Hine said. “We’ll see how it plays out over the next three months here, but he’s the guy – and if he does well enough, he will be the guy going forward.”