Earlier NBA rumors state that both Jeff Van Gundy and Tom Thibodeau are in the running for the head coaching job with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The latest news is that the latter is now amenable to the coaching stint but is demanding “total control” of the franchise.
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix said in a recent article, that according to their sources, Thibodeau “wants to have a final say on player personnel”, which bluntly means that aside from head coaching duties, the former Chicago Bulls mentor also wants to be the general manager (GM) for the team.
The dual role of being head coach/GM is not new in this era of the NBA; among the virtual coach/GMs in the league are Doc Rivers (Los Angeles Clippers) and Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs). With total control of calling plays in the court and making the moves with regards to their roster, such a move is seen as vital to avoid possible conflicts between a coach and GM.
Thibodeau has had a history of run-ins with his own GMs when he was a head coach for the Bulls from 2010 to 2015. NBA rumors then were that the Bulls GM, Gar Forman did not like Thibodeau’s style of overworking players and giving them loaded playing time.
Thibodeau is known for his toughness and work ethic as a head coach and it showed for the Bulls, which became one of the toughest defensive teams in the league during his stint in Chicago.
If hired by Chicago, can Thibodeau force the young T’Wolves squad to buy into his system of tough and non-stop defense? The core of the team includes guards Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, wings Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad and big man Karl-Anthony Towns and while they struggled again in the recently concluded season, they have shown potential to be serious players in the West in the coming years.
With Thibodeau as head coach/GM, expect the Timberwolves to be mentioned in NBA rumors this offseason with players like Nikola Pekovic and other members of the core as part of possible deals.