NBA fans shouldn’t be surprised if Fred Hoiberg lands on his feet.
The former Chicago Bulls head coach might be a leading contender to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves in the not-too-distant future, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Tom Haberstroh reported Monday, citing NBA sources. The Bulls fired Hoiberg on Monday following a 5-19 start to the season, but his solid relationship with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor puts him in position to succeed Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota.
“Glen loves Fred,” one of Haberstroh’s sources said.
Hoiberg played for the Timberwolves between 2003 and 2005. He retired as an NBA player in 2006 and spent the next four years working in the Timberwolves’ front office, where he made a strong impression on Taylor.
Thibodeau currently is the Timberwolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations. The team reportedly considered firing him last summer, and that was before the Jimmy Butler trade saga emerged on the eve of preseason, dragged on for months and ultimately weakened Thibodeau’s position as coach.
The Timberwolves currently are 12-12, and Taylor almost certainly will fire Thibodeau if they fail to make the playoffs. In fact, an early exit from the postseason also might cost Thibodeau his job.
If Taylor replaces Thibodeau with Hoiberg, as Chicago did in 2015, NBA observers undoubtedly will point out the folly of staging a second running of the TimberBulls after the first ended in a wreck.
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