The Minnesota Timberwolves have finalized a contract with Tom Thibodeau that will make him the team’s president and head coach. Thibodeau, who has won 45 games and made the playoffs in each of his five seasons as an NBA head coach, will reportedly sign a five-year deal worth nearly $10 million annually.
The Timberwolves’ opening was widely regarded as the most attractive vacancy in the league and Thibodeau was widely regarded as the best coach on the market.
Now, Thibodeau will lead the promising, young Wolves and help with the development of potential stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Over the course of his five seasons with the Chicago Bulls, the 58-year-old compiled a 255-139 regular-season record and a 23-28 playoff record.
Last season, Minnesota finished the campaign with a 29-53 record, which was the third-worst mark in the Western Conference. The Wolves were ranked 11th in offense (scoring 104.3 points per 100 possessions) and 27th in defense (allowing 107.1 points per 100 possessions).
With that said, it’s clear that the Wolves have the potential to be a contender once cornerstones like Towns (20 years old and a virtual lock to win this season’s Rookie of the Year award) and Wiggins (21 years old and the winner of last season’s ROY award) take the next step in their development. And Thibodeau’s specialty is his defense, as he demonstrated during his time with the Bulls and as an assistant coach with the 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics.
Surrounding Towns and Wiggins are other young impact players such as Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Adreian Payne and Tyus Jones. The team has just $61,494,226 in guaranteed contracts for next season and $30,879,582 for the following season, meaning they could have a ton of cap space for Thibodeau to use to recruit free agents and add to the roster.
For more on Thibodeau’s deal with the Timberwolves and why this makes sense for both parties, see the video above. I discussed Thibodeau’s new gig and what he may have learned from his stint in Chicago with Noah Coslov of Cinesport.
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