Minnesota basketball fans grew increasingly frustrated with Tom Thiboeau when he was head coach and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves.
Thibodeau was eventually fired after trading Jimmy Butler to the 76ers, and now he's a coaching free agent with the laser-focused eyes of LeBron James following him, according to a report.
Frank Isola of The Athletic writes (paywall) that James and expected Lakers head coach Tyronn Lue want Thibodeau to join them in Los Angeles as an assistant coach.
"The reports of Lue wanting to add his former colleague in Boston, Tom Thibodeau, to his coaching staff are also true. LeBron, through intermediaries, has let it be known that Thibodeau would be a huge asset to have on the bench. LeBron’s close associates were gauging Thibodeau’s interest in becoming a top assistant two weeks ago. It would be similar to the role Mike Brown and Ron Adams serve under Steve Kerr in Golden State.
"Thibodeau, however, is owed a lot of money from the Minnesota Timberwolves and the feeling is that he would prefer a head coaching job. Thibodeau has the resume and income to be patient. Plus, after dealing with an unstable management group in Minnesota, Thibodeau may be taking a wait-and-see approach with the “new-look” Lakers."
Thibodeau, despite his woes in Minnesota, is still a highly respected name in the NBA. And no one can deny that Thibodeau, by bringing in Butler via a trade with the Bulls, did lead the Wolves to the playoffs last season, snapping a streak of 13 straight years of missing the postseason.
Of course, fans still wonder if one year in the playoffs – getting rocked in five games by the Rockets – was worth giving up rising star Zach LaVine and losing potential future star Lauri Markannen, whom the Bulls drafted with Minnesota's No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft.
Hindsight is 20:20, but Thibodeau wanted to win rather than develop a young team, and if he joins LeBron in L.A. he probably won't have to wait long to win.