The Timberwolves have plotted part of their future by reaching into their past, reaching agreement with former Wolves player and current scout Scott Roth to coach the franchise's new Iowa team in the G League.
A member on the Wolves' inaugural 1989-90 expansion team, Roth is a career coach out of the same Bill Musselman coaching tree that produced Wolves coach and President of Basketball Operations Tom Thibodeau, who hired him.
Roth has spent 11 seasons on NBA benches with Dallas, Vancouver/Memphis. Golden State, Toronto and Detroit. He has also coached and consulted for the Turkish, Dominican Republic, Canadian and Chinese national teams. He also has worked for such head coaches as Bo Ryan in college basketball and Don Nelson, Dwane Casey and Stan Van Gundy in the NBA.
A former University of Wisconsin standout, he coached the D League's Bakersfield, Calif., team in 2008 and scouted for the Wolves last season.
He's now entrusted with installing the same strategic concepts Thibodeau teaches in Minneapolis and with developing young players for the Wolves' new minor league team just purchased last winter. Roth throughout his career has been involved in the development of such young players as Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez when he coached in Spain three seasons ago and Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Jonas Valanciunas, Steve Nash and others when he was an NBA assistant.
Thibodeau interviewed Roth thoroughly for more than three hours weeks ago and at the Minnesota State Fair on Monday said Roth is the right man for the job because of his varied experienced in the NBA, internationally and in minor leagues first known as the CBA, then the D League and now called the G League.
Thibodeau said Roth's experience developing big men will help first-round draft pick Justin Patton, the former Creighton center who broke a bone in his foot in June but is likely to spend some time play for the new Iowa Wolves team in Des Moines.
"He has got experience at a lot of levels, and we liked what he did as a scout for us last season," Thibodeau said. "He's a good fit for us."
Waiting on Wiggins
Thibodeau said he expects young star Andrew Wiggins' decision last week to sever ties with agent Bill Duffy will only delay — and not prevent — the final steps toward Wiggins signing a maximum five-year, $148 million contract.
Thibodeau said he's hopeful Wiggins will sign that contract in the "next few weeks," after Wiggins chooses new representation. If the Wolves don't sign him by Oct. 16, Wiggins will become a restricted free agent next summer.
"A change of agents is not uncommon," Thibodeau said. "It's unfortunate, but it's part of our business."
On the verge
Thibodeau indicated the team soon will fill three roster spots by signing players to league minimum contracts. That will bring the number of guaranteed contracts to 14 and Thibodeau intends to keep the 15th and final spot open for a player waived just before the season opener.
He said they're still likely to sign two wing players — preferably ones who can make threes and defend — and a backup point guard. Veterans such as Tony Allen, Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow, Mike Dunleavy, former Wolves player Dante Cunningham and C.J. Watson remain unsigned.
Thibodeau also acknowledged the Wolves continue to talk to Shabazz Muhammad about coming back on a minimum contract. He turned down tens of millions of dollars offered by the Wolves last fall.
"There's an opportunity here for him," Thibodeau said. "He has several opportunities to look at."
• Thibodeau said he is hopeful injured Nemanja Bjelica will be ready to play when training camp starts Sept. 23 and hopeful Patton will be ready by the regular-season opener. Both are recovering from broken bones in a foot.
• The Wolves will hold a week's training camp near San Diego on their way to two preseason games in China. Thibodeau calls the 18 days away an important time for "team building."
• The Wolves will move into newly remodeled Target Center with an enlarged locker room when they return from China. "It's amazing," Thibodeau said. "It's like magic."
• Thibodeau acknowledged the Wolves were in discussions to acquire All-Star Kyrie Irving before Cleveland traded him last week to Boston. "You have the responsibility to explore every possibility," he said. "If it makes sense for us, we'll do it. If it doesn't, we move on. We love the players we have. We know there's a lot of work to do."
• Thibodeau attended the Minnesota State Fair on Monday for the first time, doing several radio interviews and signing one fans bucket of Sweet Martha's chocolate-chip cookies. "I've signed footballs, baseballs, pucks," he said, "but that was a first."