The Minnesota Timberwolves are wearing some classic throwback uniforms this season, which is fitting because their head coach will spend the entire season trying to turn back the clock on the floor.
Luol Deng is reuniting with Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota as the latest former Chicago Bull to join forces with his old coach with the Timberwolves. The free agent met with Timberwolves brass on Monday and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported later that afternoon that the two sides were nearing a deal to bring Deng to the land of 10,000 lakes, with Shams Charania confirming the agreement on a minimum deal.
Thibodeau bringing Deng back to the fold seems like another clear attempt to turn the 2018 Timberwolves into the 2011 Bulls who happen to also have Karl-Anthony Towns on the roster. Whether that will actually work is another thing entirely. Deng joins Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson as former Bulls on the roster, with only Joakim Noah remaining as the final Bulls Infinity Stone out there in the NBA ether eluding Thibs.
According to Wonjarowski’s report, there’s no guarantee of playing time for Deng, who will fight for a spot among a lot of familiar faces.
Thibodeau has made no promises to Deng on playing time and role, but has offered the chance to earn minutes on a roster that includes three of his ex-Chicago Bulls teammates — Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.
To get the deal done, Deng essentially gave up more than $7 million to sign for the league minimum, but in the process he actually gets to play basketball this fall, something that he didn’t exactly get to do with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Deng played just 13 minutes in 2018 as the Lakers essentially waited for the summer to work out a buyout. Now he’ll at least get a shot at the floor with a coach who has believed in him in the past and seems interested in staging a comeback for the Sudanese international.