NBA rumors are swirling around Tom Thibodeau. According to Fox Sports, the new Minnesota Timberwolves head coach is firing several people in the front office so that he can surround himself with his own people. Major changes are taking place in the franchise.
Though his team was performing extremely well on the court, Tom Thibodeau was on his way out with the Chicago Bulls because he simply could not get along with the front office. He’s learned from that and wants to avoid having history repeat itself. Thibodeau is now the big boss, and he wants his people in key places.
Nine employees of the Minnesota Timberwolves were relieved of their duties.
General manager Milt Newton was among those on the chopping block. He had been at the position since 2013. Newton should be able to find another job in the NBA. He has ten years of experience as the vice president of player personnel with the Washington Wizards. It’s possible that Newton could return to that franchise. He also has some experience as a scout with the Philadelphia 76ers, so that’s another option as well.
Milt Newton saw the writing on the wall when Tom Thibodeau was hired by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thibodeau brought Scott Layden along with him. The San Antonio Spurs alumnus was hired to become the new general manager. Some felt that Newton would be reassigned within the Timberwolves organization, but Thibodeau felt that it would be best to completely get rid of the man who had served as the right hand of the late Flip Saunders.
Vice president of basketball operations Rob Babcock is another notable departure for the Minnesota Timberwolves. During two different stints, Babcock has logged more than two decades of service with the Timberwolves. Though he had a really bad stint as general manager of the Toronto Raptors, Babcock should be able to find a job somewhere in the NBA.
Assistant coach Sidney Lowe has had multiple stints with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He receives offers from other teams in the NBA, but he always finds his way back to the franchise. Lowe came back to the Timberwolves as an assistant coach in 2014. He once served as the head coach of Minnesota back in 1993.
It’s interesting to note that Tom Thibodeau has not announced the releases of the remaining assistant coaches on the staff. While that may lead some to believe that their jobs are safe, there are others that believe that Thibodeau is simply focused on clearing out executives. He’ll possibly turn his attention to the coaching staff afterwards, and he is more than likely going to bring in guys that have worked with him before.
Of the remaining assistant coaches on the staff, Ryan Saunders has the best chance at being retained by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is the son of Flip Saunders and a decent basketball mind. From a public relations standpoint, it might be wise for the Timberwolves to keep a member of the Saunders family around.
Minnesota Timberwolves fans will be disappointed with the departure vice president of sports performance Arnie Kander. He was widely credited with doing a fantastic job of keeping the players healthy. The Timberwolves had more players play all 82 games last season than any other franchise in the NBA. Minnesota might need to release a statement reminding fans that Kander was on the verge of retirement anyways. Reportedly, he only stuck around as a favor to Flip Saunders. Now that Saunders is gone, Kander may leave anyway.
The changes shouldn’t come as a shock, because Tom Thibodeau is simply trying to make the Minnesota Timberwolves his franchise.
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