Timberwolves fire coach Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau is no longer the coach of the Timberwolves.

Minnesota has fired Thibodeau, who was also the team’s president of basketball operations, the team announced Sunday. The Timberwolves improved to 19-21 this season with a 108-86 win over the Lakers earlier in the day.

Ryan Saunders will serve as the team’s interim coach while Scott Layden will remain in his role as general manager.

“We would like to thank Tom for his efforts and wish him all the best,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. “These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt them necessary to move our organization forward.”

Taylor also discussed the move in an interview with the Star Tribune.

“I said let’s let it go and see how things worked,” Taylor said. “I think now, (we’re) halfway through the season and I don’t think we’re where we thought we would be or where we think we should be.”

“We still have hopes to get into the playoffs and I think with half the season left, let’s see if this change will make a difference.”

Taylor said he was “just looking at the results.”

“The results are that I don’t think we should’ve lost against Phoenix or Detroit or New Orleans or Atlanta,” Taylor said. “Maybe one of those games. We just lost against a bunch of teams that we’re a better team.”

Former Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is a “serious” candidate to replace Thibodeau in Minnesota, according to ESPN. Hoiberg was fired by Chicago in early December.

Thibodeau took over in Minnesota in April 2016. He registered a 97-107 record in two-plus seasons with the Timberwolves and led them to a playoff berth in 2017-18.   

Thibodeau was also the head coach of the Bulls from 2011-15, where he compiled a 255-139 record.  

Former Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, who also played for Thibodeau in Chicago, demanded a trade away from the team before the start of the season. Thibodeau and Minnesota’s front office eventually sent him to the 76ers in mid-November in exchange for a package centered around Robert Covington and Dario Saric.

The Timberwolves will face the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.