Wolves react to Thibodeau firing, as candidates emerge

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The timing of the move is surprising, given the Wolves are in the middle of a playoff race and fresh off a pair of home wins.

In an official statement, owner, Glen Taylor said, "We would like to thank Tom for his efforts and wish him the best". Thibodeau, 60, led the Timberwolves to the playoffs a year ago for the first time since 2004, but are just 19-21 on the season, including 5-15 on the road.

Ryan Saunders will serve as the team's interim coach while Scott Layden will remain in his role as general manager.

The Coach and President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tom Thibodeau was released of his duties on Sunday 6th January 2019. "I think everyone knows this is special... for a number of reasons".

And Saunders, the son of the late Timberwolves coaching legend Flip Saunders, will be the leader players look to make that run happen. "I jinxed that badly", Towns said Monday, after the Timberwolves (19-21) gathered for their first practice without Thibodeau's familiar, gravelly voice leading the drills.

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Former Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, who also played for Thibodeau in Chicago, demanded a trade away from the team before the start of the season.

The babyface Saunders is set to make his National Basketball Association head coaching debut tonight when the Timberwolves head south to take on Paul George, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. I think he's prepared a long time for this moment.

Taylor said he "would assume" it was Saunders' goal to earn the full-time position.

Taylor hopes that end isn't the conclusion of the regular season.

"The results are that I don't think we should've lost against Phoenix or Detroit or New Orleans or Atlanta", Taylor said.