How will the Minnesota Timberwolves’ firing of Tom Thibodeau affect former Bulls players Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose?
The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers by 22 points on Sunday afternoon. Later in the day, the fired their coach.
This move — or, more accurately, the timing of the move — was rather shocking, especially after a blowout win. However, this was something that was needed to be done a long time ago.
The minutes distribution, the outdated play-style and the way he approached coaching were some of the few things that never ended up working in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Thibodeau was hired in April of 2016, and since that time the Wolves went just 97-107.
While Thibs did bring the Wolves to the playoffs for the first time since 2004, the above-listed reasons, combined with the Jimmy Butler saga was enough to cause him to lose his job.
The Timberwolves are currently 19-21, sitting just two games out of the eighth seed of the Western Conference race. It’s been an up-and-down season thus far, but the biggest storyline to follow has been the Butler drama.
Here’s Taylor on his decision:
It’ll be interesting to see if general manager Scott Layden will be fired at the end of the season, but right now Taylor holds Thibs accountable for the team’s struggles. The Wolves have promoted Ryan Saunders to interim head coach, with Taylor already on record that he hopes he can be the team’s head coach for years to come.
So, what does this mean for the future of Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose? Along with Loul Deng, the trio are the remaining Timberbulls on the roster with Butler and Thibodeau gone.
Gibson and Rose are both free agents this summer. Of the two, Gibson seems like the most likely player to not return next season based on age and the presence of Dario Saric. Rose would theoretically be a tradeable asset at February’s deadline, but his contract status affords him the ability to veto any trade.
Whether the Wolves decide to move on from either is to be determined although it could become more clear in the coming days. KSTP’s Darren Wolfson had B.J. Armstrong, Rose’s agent, on his podcast recently, claiming that Rose would love to come back to Minnesota and end his career there.
He also said that nothing is final and both sides would have to come to an agreement. Will thing’s change now that Thibs is gone? Maybe.
Gibson, on the other hand, is 33 years old and will be 34 by the start of the 2019-20 season. He’s yet to win a ring and it would seem likely that he could take less money to play for a contender. Even though Minnesota should be a playoff team in the near future, they are probably still a little ways out from winning anything significant.
A huge reason Gibson ended up coming to Minnesota was to be reunited with Thibodeau. Now that he’s out of the picture, it’s likely that Gibson is well.
Gibson had a career year with the Wolves last season, shooting an efficient 57.7 percent from the field. Rose has reinvented his game so much that he’s a threat to make his first appearance in the All-Star game since the 2011-12 season, averaging 18.9 points, 4.8 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game.
Rose has also been efficient shooting the ball, too, hitting on 48.6 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from 3-point range.
With Thibodeau gone, it really does leave Rose and Gibson with an unknown future with the team. Even if it doesn’t mean anything in the immediate future, it will no doubt change their free agency outlook come July.