The Minnesota Timberwolves have fired president of basketball operations and head coach Tom Thibodeau.
NBA media sources first reported the news Sunday evening, which was later confirmed through a team release. Assistant coach Ryan Saunders will take over on an interim basis, with general manager Scott Layden handling day-to-day operations of the basketball department.
Thibodeau took over in Minnesota before the 2016 season following five years with the Chicago Bulls, where he went 255-139 and made the playoffs each season. Thibodeau finished with a 97-107 record overall in Minnesota, including 19-21 this season.
“We would like to thank Tom for his efforts and wish him all the best,” said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. “These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt them necessary to move our organization forward.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer Christopher Hine relayed the following additional comment from Taylor:
“I said let’s let it go and see how things worked and I think now, we’ve gone up through 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 getting into the playoffs and I think with half the season left, let’s see if this change will make a difference.”
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Thibodeau wasn’t expecting the news, and another former Bulls coach, Fred Hoiberg — who succeeded Thibodeau and was let go earlier this season — is under consideration for a front office role, though not a combined one.