Sports

Timberwolves fire coach Tom Thibodeau

Timberwolves fire coach Tom Thibodeau

Saunders supplants Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton (38), and has turned a career as a former player at the University of Minnesota and assistant with the Washington Wizards and Timberwolves into a surprising head coaching role at such a fresh age. He registered a 97-107 record in two-plus seasons with the Timberwolves and led them to a playoff berth in 2017-18.

Hoiberg worked in Minnesota's front office following his retirement as an National Basketball Association player, and Wolves owner Glen Taylor has a well-known affection for him, according to league sources. "These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt necessary to move our organization forward".

Thibodeau also served as Minnesota's president of basketball operations.

And Saunders, the son of the late Timberwolves coaching legend Flip Saunders, will be the leader players look to make that run happen. "I think (Saunders) is going to be great".

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"I think all of this was kind of a critical mass for (Timberwolves owner) Glen Taylor to say, 'Something is just not working here. I don't know if you can classify anybody as necessarily a "Thibs guy" or 'Chicago guy.' Everybody has been in this organization to try and help this organization become better, and that's everyone's main focus". And I've talked to him before and after practice. "Maybe one of those games". Former Timberwolves player and assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg, who replaced Thibodeau in Chicago, will be available, having been fired last month.

Thibodeau entered the season on the hot seat, which is why he was desperately trying to keep Jimmy Butler rather than trade him.

Ultimately Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for forwards Robert Covington and Dario Saric, and only after Taylor stepped in.

The Timberwolves take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Saunders' first game on Tuesday night.