Timberwolves Rumors: Fred Hoiberg HC or GM Candidate After Tom Thibodeau Firing

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2019

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach Fred Hoiberg of the Chicago Bulls reacts during the second half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on November 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Former Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is a candidate to take over as the Minnesota Timberwolves' head coach or general manager, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.

Wojnarowski reported the Timberwolves fired Tom Thibodeau as their head coach and president of basketball operations.

The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported Hoiberg isn't in Minnesota's "immediate plans" and that the team is content to roll with general manager Scott Layden and interim head coach Ryan Saunders. Krawczynski added the situation "could change over the long haul."

A return to coaching is Hoiberg's focus, per Wojnarowski, who added ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups has also been discussed as a possible candidate for GM or head coach.

Wojnarowski noted the Timberwolves had considered former New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams prior to hiring Thibodeau, so he could be an option this time around too.

Some thought the timing of Minnesota's pursuit of Hoiberg coincided with the availability of the UCLA Bruins' coaching gig.

UCLA fired Steve Alford on Dec. 31, and the New York Times' Marc Stein subsequently reported that "there have been persistent rumbles in NBA coaching circles that UCLA would pursue [Hoiberg]."

Prior to coaching Iowa State, Hoiberg was the Timberwolves' assistant general manager. Bringing Hoiberg in for a front-office role may not be a hard sell. Having him coach would be another matter.

The Bulls went 115-155 with one playoff appearance in three-plus years under Hoiberg.

The pair of Gar Forman and John Paxson deserve some of the blame for the team's struggles because the roster has generally been a mess for a few years. But nobody would argue Hoiberg maximized the talent at his disposal.

Then there are the optics of hiring another coach the Bulls discarded. The "TimberBulls" became a thing because Minnesota couldn't stop adding former Bulls players to pair with Thibodeau. Now, the Timberwolves are linked to the guy who replaced Thibodeau in Chicago.

Seeing the team go back to that well again is unlikely to be received positively among Timberwolves fans.

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