Tom Thibodeau And Timberwolves Agree To Deal

Tom Thibodeau And Timberwolves Agree To Deal

It shouldn't be news when an opposing team signs a head coach, but for all the drama and turmoil that surrounded Tom Thibodeau and his tenure in Chicago, it would be remiss of Bulls Confidential to refrain from focusing on the topic of the day.

Finalizing a five-year, $40 million deal that will see Thibodeau become both the president of basketball operations and head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves,  the growth and improvement of the Minnesota Timberwolves will now be expedited under the tutelage of Thibodeau. Already armed with the best young talent in the game and a surrounding core already established by the late Flip Saunders, Thibodeau will now have the ability to add and build atop of Saunders' vision with his expanded role as a team executive.

Joining a team full of young talent that projects to be one of the best and most exciting team's in the league, the great irony in Thibodeau’s appointment is his old team, the Chicago Bulls, have declined into a rabble of uncertainty that mirrors past incarnations of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ousted from his role as head coach, the arrival of Fred Hoiberg as Thibodeau’s successor was to be the beginning of a resurgence for the Bulls. Time has allowed reality to sink in, and such a notion looks laughable in retrospect.

Hoiberg had a troubling initiation into the NBA, disappointing in his rookie season as coach. Destined to face heavy and unfair comparisons to Thibodeau, a lack of support and vision from Chicago’s management all but assured a tumultuous start to Hoiberg’s NBA coaching career. The young talent which Gar Forman invested so heavily in – which Thibodeau had trouble integrating into his rotation – have yet to develop as expected.

Compounding this reality has been the steep decline of the veteran presence within the locker room. Pau Gasol would preach accountability, but would fail to live up to his own words. Demoted to the bench, Joakim Noah saw his role as the team leader diminish, being usurped by Jimmy Butler’s rising ego, which created an inner turmoil which Hoiberg couldn’t control. Dysfunction thrived as harmony died.

Making matters worse is the uncertain path of the franchise’s roster build moving forward, with the future of the team’s best player, Jimmy Butler, up in the air.

The same can’t be said of Minnesota.

Karl-Anthony Towns, the 2015 1st overall pick, recently completed an incredible rookie season that will see him comfortably win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. Last year’s winner, Andrew Wiggins, has developed into a 20 point scorer, and with his physical tools, can develop into the perimeter defender that Thibodeau leaned so heavily on in Chicago with Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler.

If those building blocks weren’t enough, Ricky Rubio is the perfect point guard to initiate both the offensive and defensive philosophies that will be barked vigorously from the new coach, while Zach Lavine and Gorgui Dieng – both of whom hail from the same draft as Doug McDermott and Tony Snell – round out a starting unit that can grow together for seasons to come.

With so much offensive talent and potential at his disposal, Thibodeau will have the offensive talent he was never afforded in Chicago while being able to mould the young and athletic Wolves into a defensive juggernaut.

Oh, and did I mention Kevin Garnett, who rejoins forces with Thibs from their days in Boston, will continue to instill his invaluable mentorship to another potential top-5 pick and over $30 million in cap space?

So much promise exists for a franchise that has had to endure so much, and Thibodeau has every chance to be the mastermind dictating the development of potential to greatness. He’s been cast into his dream job, and frankly, he deserves it.

His signing with the Timberwolves means that the Bulls will no longer be required to pay the remaining salary on Thibodeau's contract. *Queue Reinsdorf doing the Birdman handrub* Hopefully, this means the Bulls franchise can exorcise the demon's left from the breakup that haunted the team throughout the year.

Both the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves at the crossroads, but only one organization is headed down a path of championship success, being led by a man destined to have the last laugh.



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  • This will be quite interesting. I bet Thibs can get the Wolves to improve greatly and possibly get a top 4-5 seed.

    However, Lets remember how predictable he was in sets and rotations, rarely out-adjusting opposing coaches in-game or in a series. His slow, methodical style was maddening. How often did Rose start offensive set with 12 on the clock! In fact, this style is so engrained on the current Bulls roster that they refuse to adopt Hoiberg's faster style.

    And, I'm sure the Minn players will LOVE the 3 hour intense practices on off days in the middle of a 4-games in 5-nights stretch.

    Thibs is a great coach, but will he learn from his first gig? The talent and roster flexibility is second to none in terms of open jobs. Not sold on him having total control.

  • In reply to Granby:

    But if they complain, they will be complaining about the President of Basketball Operations, and he is not going to fire the coach.

    The more interesting thing is that the Timberfwolves never seemed able to hold onto their #1 draft picks, whether Thibs can draft players who are willing to stay around, instead of pining to be traded.

    It is also interesting that Thibs got the Pres. role. He apparently was not as incompetent as the person currently holding that position with the Bulls thought, and now there will be a head to head competition.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, more power may help. Players are locked up for a few years still and cannot complain much at this point.

    But, his undoing will be losing in the playoffs. I bet he builds a winner, but that they never win it all with Thibs. I do love KAT and Wiggins - and they could be top 5 NBA players in a few years.

  • In reply to Granby:

    But you are relying on old wives' tales, since the successor coach couldn't get them to the playoffs, and Thibs wasn't responsible for the Bulls still being all injured this year or being unable play defense. Now he can mold his own roster.

    I don't think this is analogous to Vinny Del Negro, who wasn't any better with the Clippers (although who could be), or Tim Floyd with the N.O. Hornets.

  • In reply to Granby:

    So Thibs can never win it all because he failed to advance the flawed Bulls rosters past the LeBron led super teams in the east? However the only eastern team that really gave the heat pause was Thib's Bulls squad.

    Bulls issues in the playoffs weren't Thib's fault the fact that he kept the teams highly competitive through the disastrous years of the Rose injuries are a direct reflection of his abilities as a coach. He is going to turn that losing tradition in T'Wolves locker room around in a hurry. Why because he is a leader. Young team like that with a history of losing sorely needs a strong leader. Heck Bulls old ass roster needs a leader sure shouldn't be Jimmy Butler.

  • I think this is a dream fit for the team and coach. With a roster loaded with young athletic talent Thibs should be able to turn them into a perennial top 3 defensive powerhouse with little trouble. That combined with the offensive fire power from their future superstar youngsters KAT and Wiggens whoa! Zach LaVine has been flashing some big time potential as well. Timberwolves are going to blossom into a force probably as soon as next season.

    You guys didn't even mention the coupe of Thibodeau prying Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden as his new general manager. This is going to be a really exciting team to follow! I am happy for Thibs and can't blame him for pushing for team president role after the hell of dealing with the petty dictators in the Bulls FO...

  • In reply to Chad:

    I agree that Thibs is a great fit with the Wolves, but I'm not sold on the fact that it is wise to give him that much power and responsibilities. Thibs has shown that he is great at micro-managing, but maybe not that great at macro-managing. This could go very wrong as team president.
    In Chicago, he could concentrate on his players, on his defensive schemes. He got a superstar in Rose who followed his every command, and some very good defenders and hustle guys. Altogether a high-character team that fought for each other and held each other responsible (until it all fell apart) and played harder than any other team in the league. It also reflected the "personality" of the city of chicago very well. They were proud of who they were.
    Chicago, back when Thibs was hired, was at least as much of a dream fit for Thibs as the Wolves are now. I have to fully agree with Roman on that.
    And I don't believe, that the Wolves, just because Thibs is team president, will have any better shot at landing a marquee free agent than Chicago had.
    At least they got Boozer and Gasol, right? Right? ;)
    (I hated Boozer and I dislike Gasol as players, but all kidding aside: both were sought-after free agents and both could have gotten more money elsewhere. If you'd like to believe Carmelo Anthony, they almost got him as well.)

  • In reply to Chad:

    The Layden move seems like a key part of this, allowing Thibs to focus on coaching with a guy he can trust with his "vision" running the player personnel part with a Spursian perspective.

  • I'm neither rooting for him nor against him, but I am very curious to see how this turns out. In many ways, GarPax gave Thibs the perfect roster for him with guys like Noah, Taj and Deng... or maybe Thibs made those guys into what they are? We'll find out a lot more about him with the Wolves.

    He does have to make some changes in his approach and I have always felt that, sadly, he would do so only after leaving the Bulls.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I'm in your camp, neither rooting for nor against him. It will be very interesting to see what he does with all that young talent. I guess we won't be able to trade Rose for Rubio now that Thibs is in Minny.

  • Reading the comments here, it's pretty clear that Bulls fans by enlarge want to see Thibs succeed to make the FO look worse. When he was here, though, they criticized him to make the FO look worse. I think there's a common thread here.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Count me as one of those who want to see Thibs do well just to stick it to GarPax. The Bulls will be hopeless until those 2 buffoons are gone. Sadly it looks like only Mr. Loyalty Jerry Reinsdorf kicking the bucket will get them launched.

  • I think Thibs will be a great fit for this Minnesota team.
    With the players he has [young, athletic (with uber-athletes like Lavine and Wiggins)], he can mold them into a defensive juggernaut. Offensively they are more talented than Thib's Bulls rosters, although they don't have a superstar like Rose was back then. But Towns could become that player and probably an even more dominant one than Rose ever was (it would be fun to see all those small-ball teams, molded after the Warriors, trying to stop him in the post).
    The big question regarding Thibs is: can he win it all within 3-4 years? I don't believe that he will have much longer than, unless he surprises everyone with a more relaxed attitude.

    Also, I don't think his success in Minnesota, or lack thereof, will have any meaning towards the job he has done in Chicago, or his firing. Thibs did a great job with the Bulls in my opinion, but it was just time for him to go. How many NBA coaches last longer than 3-4 years with the same team? In professional sports, that's almost half of an average player's carreer.

  • I don't necessarily want Thibs to succeed to stick it to GarPax. I do think Thibs will be a good fit initially in Minn. I hope Hoiberg gets some talent more suitable to his style and succeeds.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I was going to put this in the piece, but the biggest irony in all this is that Hoiberg was really close to Saunders, and could have been in line for the Wolves job but he didn't seem to want it. Probably because he know he had the Bulls job in the bag and they didn't have Towns at that point, but it's funny how things can quickly change and go full circle.

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