In an appearance on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" show this morning, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst claimed that he had heard from sources close to the team that the Timberwolves had made "cursory contact" with former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Windhorst offered the information as a response to a question from Mike Greenberg about which NBA team Thibodeau would be most likely to coach for next.
The full quote from Windhorst, as transcribed by 1500 ESPN's Derek James:
"In the modern NBA, the Knicks job is not the best job. I think the best job that’s potentially going to be open is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sam Mitchell is the interim coach. I don’t think he’s keeping that job long term and I think the people in the Timberwolves organization are already looking at Tom Thibodeau. In fact, I’ll just tell you, sources are telling me that there’s already been some cursory contact between either back channels or whatever between the Wolves and Thibodeau."
Wolves beat reporter Darren Wolfson fielded questions on Twitter, following Windhorst's interview.
In an interview on 1500 ESPN later in the morning, Windhorst clarified that the contact between Thibodeau and the Wolves organization had been made by "back channels" and not general manager Milt Newton or team owner Glen Taylor.
"Remember, there's other parties at stake here. Glen [Taylor] is on he record saying he intends to sell 30 percent of his team to a new ownership group, and that that team will eventually have controlling interest. We don't know when that controlling interest will happen, but if it was within the next two years, you would think that that group would possibly have some say in who a potential coaching candidate would be, if the job opens."
Windhorst also reiterated that, in his opinion, the Timberwolves' head coaching job would be an "extremely coveted position."
A quick Thibodeau primer:
Thibodeau is best know for his tenure as the head coach of the Bulls, where he received Coach of the Year honors in 2011 and steered the team to an impressive 255-139 record, or .647 winning percentage, according to Basketball Reference.
Thibodeau began his coaching career in Minnesota as as an assistant coach for Bill Musselman, and spent seven seasons as the defensive coordinator for the New York Knicks before winning an NBA championship as an assistant coach with Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett, and the Boston Celtics in 2008.