Los Angeles—The Minnesota Timberwolves have fired head coach Tom Thibodeau, who is one of the winningest coaches in franchise history but has watched his team struggle this season.
Thibodeau was notified of the decision following the Timberwolves 108-86 blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
In a brief statement the club said he was relieved of his duties both as coach and president of basketball operations.
“These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt them necessary to move our organization forward,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said.
Taylor told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he didn’t think the team had performed up to its abilities.
“I said let’s let it go and see how things worked and I think now, we’ve gone halfway through the season and I don’t think we’re where we thought we would be or where we think we should be,” Taylor said.
“I’m just looking at the results. The results are that I don’t think we should’ve lost against Phoenix or Detroit or New Orleans or Atlanta. Maybe one of those games. We just lost against a bunch of teams that we’re a better team.”
The club said Scott Layden would remain in his role as General Manager and run the day-to-day operations of the basketball department and assistant Coach Ryan Saunders will assume the role of interim head coach for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.
“Ryan has been around now quite a few years,” Taylor said. “He knows the players. The players know him. I think he was probably the best candidate to move ahead.”
Thibodeau finishes his time in Minneapolis with 97 career wins which ties him for the second-most in club history with Rick Adelman. Thibodeau also has 107 career losses.
The Timberwolves are missing two key players with injuries, including Derrick Rose who is out with a sprained ankle. Robert Covington is also on the injured list with a bruised knee. The Timberwolves are 11th in the Western Conference standings with a record of 19-21. AFP