The Minnesota Timberwolves have hired Tom Thibodeau as their coach and president of basketball operations, the team announced Wednesday.
San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Scott Layden will be the team’s general manager.
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the two sides were in serious talks earlier Wednesday. Thibodeau’s contract with Minnesota could be worth around $10 million annually, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Tom Thibodeau back to the Timberwolves,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor in a statement. “Through this process we quickly identified Tom as the best leader to shape our talented team and help them realize their full potential. Tom’s resume speaks for itself. He is a proven winner, leader and one of the most well-respected NBA head coaches over the last decade. His teams have annually been among the league leaders in defense and we are excited about the approach and mentality he will bring to that side of the ball. The future of the Minnesota Timberwolves has never been brighter and we are very pleased to have Tom as our basketball operations leader moving forward.”
Thibodeau expressed his excitement to return to the team that he was once a member of.
“I started my career with the Minnesota Timberwolves and it is an incredible opportunity to rejoin the organization at a time when they have what I believe to be the best young roster in the NBA,” Thibodeau said in a statement. “Together with a great owner in Glen Taylor and a terrific basketball partner in Scott Layden, I look forward to building a winning culture that Minnesota sports fans can be proud of.”
The Timberwolves finished 29–53 this season under Sam Mitchell, who was fired earlier this month. Mitchell was the team’s head coach on an interim basis after the death of Flip Saunders.
Thibodeau went 255–139 in five seasons as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 2009-2015. He led the Bulls to the playoffs five straight years, including a conference finals appearance in 2011. He has been to the NBA Finals three times as an assistant coach and won a title with the 2008 Celtics.
He inherits the past two No. 1 overall draft picks in Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, in addition to Minnesota’s upcoming lottery selection and a host of young players.
Layden spent the past four seasons with the Spurs, and has also worked with the Jazz and Knicks in front office capacities.
– Rohan Nadkarni