Minnesota Timberwolves fire Tom Thibodeau
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Minnesota Timberwolves have fired coach and team president Tom Thibodeau:
The Minnesota Timberwolves fired president and coach Tom Thibodeau on Sunday, clearing the way for ownership to revamp the team’s basketball operations.
The move came moments after the Wolves’ 108-86 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers improved their record to 19-21, including 14-6 at home. They are 11th in the Western Conference standings.
Minnesota CEO Ethan Casson, accompanied by general manager Scott Layden, walked into Thibodeau’s office and fired him after the victory over the Lakers, league sources told ESPN. Thibodeau had no idea his ouster was imminent, sources said.
Layden will remain in place for now but his future remains uncertain, sources said. Former Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg as well as ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups have been discussed as possible candidates for GM or head coach, sources said, but the organization has yet to reach out to either.
Wow — I thought that if Tom Thibodeau could withstand Jimmy Butler antagonizing the Timberwolves’ franchise player while Thibs sat back and enjoyed the show, Thibs could hang around Minnesota for just about as long as he wanted. Evidently, that isn’t the case.
Despite improving since trading Jimmy Butler, the performance from Minnesota this season has been disappointing. The Timberwolves have played so-so basketball, and find themselves in 11th place in the Western Conference with an 19-21 record. They’re far from out of the playoff hunt, however, and it’s possible ownership has fired Thibodeau with the hopes of bringing in a coach who can light a fire under the collective ass of the Timberwolves and propel them into the postseason.
Wojnarowski identifies former Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who succeeded Thibodeau once before (in Chicago), and Chauncey Billups as possible replacements for Thibodeau.
Chandler Parsons and Memphis Grizzlies agree to separation
Chandler Parsons has one of the worst (if not the worst) contracts in the NBA — he’s making $24.1 million (‘18-’19) and $25.1 million (‘19-’20) over the next two seasons. While his current deal always seemed destined to be a slight overpay, it’s turned out to be a worst case scenario outcome for the Grizzlies, as they’re pretty much paying Parsons to go on rehab assignments. The injury-plagued 30-year-old has seen just 73 games of action since first signing with Memphis in the summer of 2017. The whole situation has fostered frustration between the parties, with the Grizzlies and Parsons agreeing to a separation over the weekend.
The most recent friction between the two sides stems from Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace asking Parsons to take on a G-League assignment. Parsons had recently returned to the team after hurting his knee in Memphis’ third game of the season and was medically cleared to play, but Wallace wanted to be sure Parsons would be defensively engaged. So Wallace asked Parsons to accept a stint in the G-League. But Parsons felt he was being placed on the back burner, with no clear path to return to the Grizzlies’ rotation. This has made Parsons uneasy about his status in Memphis, leading to the separation.
Cavaliers waive Patrick McCaw, sign Cameron Payne
According to the Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Cleveland Cavaliers have waived Patrick McCaw, making him an unrestricted free agent, in order to sign Cameron Payne:
The Cleveland Cavaliers are planning to sign free agent guard Cameron Payne to a 10-day contract, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium. Cleveland is releasing Pat McCaw, opening roster spot.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 6, 2019
I don’t think either of these two players matter much. McCaw had a grass roots movement in his favor at one point, but he’s struggled to be an effective NBA player. His offensive contributions during his short stint in Cleveland were atrocious.
Cameron Payne was released by the Chicago Bulls just days ago as a result of the Bulls trading Justin Holiday to the Memphis Grizzlies and getting back two players in Marshon Brooks and Wayne Selden Jr.