In a shocking turn of events that followed back-to-back blowout victories by the Minnesota Timberwolves over the weekend, Tom Thibodeau has been fired as head coach, per The Athletic.
For many fans of the franchise who had become fatigued during the Thibodeau-era, this news comes with a special garnish: Ryan Saunders has been named head coach on an interim basis.
Of course, this is a decision that has long been in the works for the Timberwolves franchise ever since the Jimmy Butler situation repelled many fans from the team and left others booing Thibodeau nightly. But the losing — 4-9 in the first 13 games — had an effect that owner, Glen Taylor, apparently could not ignore.
However, since the trade the Wolves have been a winning team, tallying 15 wins in 27 games, but 19-21 was not meeting expectations in the aggregate. Historically, this is not out of the norm for Taylor who also fired Dwane Casey after exactly 40 games during the 2006-07 season. The Wolves were 20-20 when Casey was let go.
Still, the timing is shocking. Thibodeau finished what was one of his most jovial press conferences not an hour before the news broke. And players in the locker room were discussing heading to Top Golf for the evening 30 minutes before the news.
It’s a Timberwolves type of story that has much more to come. ESPN has reported Fred Hoiberg as the franchise’s main candidate for the vacancy. But all we know for now is that the Thibodeau era is over and the future of the Wolves has changed. With Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric and Josh Okogie, the core is young and because of that, the next decision this franchise makes will be one of the biggest in franchise history.