On Sunday night, Tom Thibodeau was fired by the Timberwolves despite an impressive 108-86 win over the Lakers that same day. The Wolves must have finally felt it was time to move on from Thibodeau, who was both the head coach and president of the organization.
Why they waited until now to do it when they had a chance in October, at the peak of the Jimmy Butler drama, is anybody’s guess. But Butler is now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers and Thibs is officially out of a job. Don’t worry about Thibodeau being bored and not having anything to do, though. He’s a basketball lifer that will spend plenty of time diving into the game.
He also apparently has plans to help out Clippers coach Doc Rivers. The two used to work together back in Boston before Thibodeau became a head coach, and Rivers says he wants Thibs to come in on a consulting role. Rivers told reporters on Monday that Thibodeau has an open invite to join him in Los Angeles and help out the Clippers.
He’s already had former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue doing something similar for him. And this is a good way for Thibodeau to stay busy and keep himself in the NBA. He also might need to build up a little rapport around the league again after what may be categorized as a disastrous flameout in Minnesota. At no point with the Wolves did his defense come together and it felt like he had a hard time reaching the younger players on his roster. Maybe some time away from coaching, and just consulting, will help him connect better with where the league is going and give him a chance to evolve a little.
Thibodeau might also be able to help the Clippers with some of his old school tendencies. He helped Rivers form some of best defenses the NBA has ever seen when they were coaching together in Boston. If they can recapture even a little bit of that magic together then Los Angeles could become an even stronger force than it already is this season. Worst case, Thibs, and Rivers can just reminisce about having full control over teams and how it all went wrong for both in the end.