Things continue to move quickly for the Timberwolves, as multiple reports have them closing in on a deal to hire Tom Thibodeau as head coach and president of basketball operations.
Tom Thibodeau is finalizing a five-year deal to become president and coach of the Timberwolves, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 20, 2016
Reports further indicate that Scott Layden has been tabbed to join Thibs in the front office as his general manager.
Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden is working on a deal to join Thibodeau as his GM in Minnesota, league sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 20, 2016
This follows a very fast interview process that appears to have been limited to Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy, and is unlike anything we've ever seen from the Wolves in the past. Glen Taylor apparently has no desire to wait around, and instead identified his top candidate and is on the verge of making a deal that will likely exceed $10 million per year.
While there are certainly red flags concerning Thibodeau, including potential player overuse, potentially too much emphasis on winning right away, and lack of personnel experience, the strengths outweigh the potential weaknesses. The guy can coach, and is almost certain to improve the Wolves defense significantly and in short order.
We've discussed Thibs at length over the last few days, so no need to get into it again here, but I'm a big fan of this direction. The team needs to make a jump at some point, and sooner is better than later. As PD Wolves mentioned on Twitter this morning, now is a good time to start expecting more, especially from guys like Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine:
@steventurous @canishoopus But I think now sounds like the perfect time to ramp up the accountability with expert direction for both.— Punch-Drunk Wolves (@PDWolves) April 20, 2016
They are still young and not finished products, but they are also both entering their third year in the league with plenty of playing time behind them. There is nothing wrong with giving them direction and expecting accountability at this point. It's time to take winning seriously.
As for Scott Layden, he is currently assistant GM for the Spurs, but has a long history as an NBA executive, with stints in various roles with the Utah Jazz during the 80s and 90s (he has been credited with directing the drafts that landed the Jazz John Stockton and Karl Malone), and the New York Knicks around the turn of the century (a pretty disastrous stint for the franchise). He joined the Spurs in 2012.
We will have more on this as things develop. One of the things to watch for is how the organizational structure will play out--how the decision making gets parceled and what exactly Layden's role is. We will be exploring this in coming days as we get more information.
There is no specific indication of what this means for Milt Newton, who is currently the interim general manager.