Report: Chauncey Billups Discussed by Timberwolves After Tom Thibodeau Firing

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2019

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 3: Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chauncey Billups (1) warms up prior the Boston Celtics 106-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at TD Garden on February 3, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Elise/Getty Images)
Chris Elise/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves have discussed former Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg and former NBA point guard Chauncey Billups as their next potential head coach or general manager, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.

The Timberwolves announced Sunday they fired head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau. The team confirmed Scott Layden will stay on as the GM, but Wojnarowski reported "his future is uncertain."

The Cleveland Cavaliers pursued Billups for their general manager vacancy ahead of the 2017-18 season before he withdrew himself from consideration. Chris Haynes and Marc J. Spears reported for ESPN that the Cavs' final offer to Billups was well below—at least $2 million less—than what a typical GM would command.

Haynes and Spears also said Billups was building a reputation as "a future front-office star" despite having no experience in an NBA front office.

Selecting Billups as either the head coach or GM would be risky for the Timberwolves.

He made sense in Cleveland since the Cavaliers are embarking on a long-term rebuild. Billups could have experienced some trial and error without it impacting the franchise too much.

That's a luxury that wouldn't be afforded to Billups in Minnesota.

The Timberwolves are only two games back of the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. Joining a playoff contender in the middle of the season would be a tough situation for any head coach—let alone one who hasn't coached in the NBA before.

From a front-office perspective, Billups would have to work around a roster that provides little financial flexibility going forward. Even if Minnesota renounces all of its salary-cap holds for 2019-20, it's projected to be $1.9 million in the red, per Spotrac.

Karl-Anthony Towns' five-year, $158 million max extension kicks in next season, while Andrew Wiggins is owed $122 million over the next four years.

When Jimmy Butler failed to pan out as the third star alongside Towns and Wiggins, it caused serious damage to the Timberwolves' long-term outlook. They won't have the money to sign a marquee free agent, and it will be equally difficult to swing another trade for an All-Star-level player.

Given the scarcity of head coach and GM jobs available in the NBA on a yearly basis, Billups' interest in either role with Minnesota would be understandable. But both he and the Timberwolves should think hard about whether this represents the best possible fit.

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