Christian Petersen/GettyTom Thibodeau is being tasked with making the Wolves contenders.The Minnesota Timberwolves are close to making a giant move to get to the next level.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Timberwolves are closing in on a 5-year, $50 million deal with Tom Thibodeau to become head coach and president of basketball operations.
It’s not only a whopping figure in what’s becoming an increasingly common move, giving coaches personnel control, it shows the Timberwolves are on the rise.
Minnesota already owns one of the most intriguing young cores in the NBA. Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 pick in 2015, is sure to be Rookie of the Year and a future superstar; Andrew Wiggins, the 2014 No. 1 pick, looks likely to become one of the NBA’s best two-way wings. Around them, they have Ricky Rubio, a great point guard when healthy; Zach LaVine, a young, high-flying combo guard; Shabazz Muhammad, a gifted scorer; and Gorgui Dieng, a solid, young center.
And they still have a likely top-4 pick coming in the draft this June.
There’s talent to work with and develop in Minnesota, and with the league’s salary cap exploding in the next two seasons, the Wolves will have cap space to bring in veterans. It’s a perfect mold. The young, promising core is attractive enough, but add in Thibodeau, who had a 255-139 record as Bulls head coach, and they’re sure to bring in free agents.
Though Thibodeau had an ugly falling out in Chicago, and he never reached the Finals with the Bulls, he also routinely crafted one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, even amid annual onslaughts of injuries. The Bulls, regardless of who was on the floor, were stingy and competitive every night under Thibodeau.
A team doesn’t hire Tom Thibodeau, and throw everything but the kitchen sink at him in the process, to tank for another two or three years. The move shows the Wolves are looking to move up in the NBA world, and on the surface, Thibodeau looks like one of the best possible hires to take them there.