"New captain" Saunders has Wolves’ trust in interim role

"New captain" Saunders has Wolves’ trust in interim role

"The timing is quite surprising, with two plus years remaining on his contract, though Glen Taylor's unhappiness with Thibs was not a secret".

Hoiberg has been a rumored target for UCLA's head-coaching job. For the time being, assistant coach Ryan Saunders will take over for Thibodeau on an interim basis. The turmoil began when disgruntled All-Star Jimmy Butler demanded a trade from the team, ultimately criticizing his teammates' lack of effort and urgency to win. Thibodeau and Minnesota's front office eventually sent him to the 76ers in mid-November in exchange for a package centered around Robert Covington and Dario Saric. His father, Flip Saunders, coached Minnesota from 1995 to 2005 and again from 2014 until his death in October 2015.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Taylor is seriously considering hiring Fred Hoiberg as the Timberwolves new coach or general manager in the future. And everyone involved - players, coaches and staff - know that. Most other acknowledged National Basketball Association coaches who took on the role during their roaring 20s were all former player-coaches like Debusschere. Minnesota is now 19-21, 11th in the Western Conference standings.

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Last season, Thibodeau guided the Timberwolves to their first winning year since the 2004-05 campaign.

Obviously, young big man Karl Anthony-Towns should be an untouchable for any trade negotiations, but don't be surprised if the Wolves also make some deals come the February trade deadline. Towns as well as teammate Andrew Wiggins were told about the firing by phone, and were reportedly not given a solid answer as to why. But even if they make it to the April games, it's hard to imagine them making any noise against the West's championship-contending teams.

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