Six days after the Timberwolves announced they’d search for both a new coach and basketball-operations boss, they remain on a fast track toward filling each job, likely with one man.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor discussed the job(s) with former Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau and former Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks the same night the Wolves ended their season and announced the searches soon thereafter Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. By Monday, Taylor had met with TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy, too.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday morning that Taylor will also interview former Golden State coach Mark Jackson this week.
Taylor, who owns the Star Tribune, has hired executive search firm Korn Ferry and its top sports headhunter, Jed Hughes, who brought together Stan Van Gundy and the Detroit Pistons to fill both of their positions in May 2014.
This time, the firm might do the same with the Wolves and Thibodeau, who is believed to be seeking control over player-personnel decisions and front-office hires. The Bulls fired him in May 2015 partly because of conflicts with management.
The Pistons signed Stan Van Gundy to a five-year, $35 million contract — a ballpark financial parameter for negotiations between the Wolves and Thibodeau — to do both jobs.
Yahoo!Sports reported Monday that Korn Ferry has identified San Antonio assistant GM Scott Layden and Memphis executive VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski as general manager candidates who would work under a new Wolves coach/basketball boss.
Layden was the New York Knicks’ head of basketball operations from 1999 to 2003, when Thibodeau was an assistant coach under Jeff Van Gundy there. An NBA team’s front-office executive the past two decades, Stefanski was a general manager with both New Jersey and Philadelphia. Brooks, meanwhile, appears to be the front-runner for the Washington job and a Wizards team intent on bringing Kevin Durant back home. Yahoo!Sports reported Monday that Jeff Van Gundy tops Houston’s list for a vacancy that doesn’t exist until the season ends for the Rockets and interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
The Wolves announced last week that interim head coach Sam Mitchell had been relieved of those duties.
General Manager Milt Newton remains on the job, but his future will be determined by the team’s new management.