You probably couldn’t imagine Tom Thibodeau jetting off to the Caribbean this time of year when he held only the job title “Coach.”

Now that he’s the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations as well, the NBA’s lengthened All-Star break will be that in name only, particularly with the league’s trade deadline approaching Thursday afternoon.

“You just go in and you work, that’s what you do,” he said. “You look at all the things happening this time of year. You look to our roster, to what’s going on around the league. There’s always something to do.”

Thursday’s deadline already has sent Serge Ibaka, Terrence Ross, Jusuf Nurkic and Mason Plumlee on the move, with more — Brook Lopez? Jahlil Okafor? Reggie Jackson? Maybe even Carmelo Anthony, despite his no-trade clause? — sure to follow.

“To me, this time of the year is about gathering information,” Thibodeau said. “You’re talking to everyone and everyone is talking to each other. You’re always looking to improve your team.”

That leaves no time for a vacation, although Thibodeau admitted he might take a three-hour one, or two.

“I usually try to catch a couple movies,” he said. “We’ll see how that unfolds.”

You’ll also see if the approaching deadline presents Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden an opportunity to make the Wolves better. Here’s a look at some of their options before 2 p.m. Thursday Central time arrives:

Their assets

Point guard Ricky Rubio: His time with the Wolves started ticking when the team drafted defense-oriented Kris Dunn fifth overall last summer. Dunn isn’t ready to run a team full time yet, unless Thibodeau and Layden decide now or by draft night in June that he is. June probably is more likely for a team that would have more options to consider now if Zach LaVine (knee surgery) were healthy.

Shabazz Muhammad: He’s getting better by the month, but can they afford him as a restricted free agent, particularly after Allen Crabbe’s four-year, $74.8 million offer and Tyler Johnson’s four-year, $50 million deal last summer?

Nemanja Bjelica: His contract is dirt cheap and Wolves will try to upgrade at power forward.

Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill, Brandon Rush: Veterans with expiring or modest contracts all could give a contender just enough needed playoff minutes.

Their needs

Tough, grown men with NBA experience, including a starting power forward who rebounds, alters shots and can defend, particularly out to the three-point line, and maybe a point guard who will start for now if they can broker a Rubio trade.

Trade candidates

Taj Gibson, Chicago: Thibodeau coached him and loves him, and he perfectly fits a need. Gibson will be a free agent this summer, if the Wolves wait to pursue the 31-year-old.

Bismack Biyombo, Orlando: The Magic traded Ibaka last week, so whether Orlando would deal another big man depends upon buyer’s remorse after signing him to a four-year, $72 million contract last year.

Kenneth Faried or Wilson Chandler, Denver: The Nuggets will be active seeking deals. Thibodeau coached Faried with Team USA, knows his limitations and praises his energy.

Iman Shumpert, Cleveland: Not a power forward, but the kind of tough wing defender Thibodeau values. And he is only 26.

PJ Tucker, Phoenix: A tough, versatile perimeter defender who is 31 and a summer free agent for a Suns team committed to its youth.

Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia: He’s available, but you would have to pay him big this summer as a free agent.

Short takes

• Former Timberwolves superstar Kevin Garnett reminisces about his career and life during a one-hour NBA TV interview with Kevin McHale, the guy who drafted him directly out of high school. He discusses their history together, how Sam Mitchell showed him the NBA way and his years and title won in Boston.

Click here to view a clip of the interview

It airs at 8 p.m. Monday.

Wolves new star Karl-Anthony Towns is part of a roundtable discussion an hour later with contemporaries Joel Embiid, Devin Booker and D’Angelo Russell taped over All-Star weekend.

• Kansas will retire Wolves veteran Brandon Rush’s jersey on Wednesday, placing it among the greats at Allen Fieldhouse during a home game against TCU.

He was a member of Kansas’ 2008 NCAA championship team along with Mario Chalmers, whose jersey already hangs there. Raised in Kansas City, he expects about 20 family members and friends to attend, including his mother and grandmother.

“All the great names that are up there, it means a lot,” he said.

• The Wolves’ Tom Thibodeau coached one NBA All-Star Game for the Eastern Conference and was an assistant a couple of other times. So he knows what it’s like to try to find playing time for 12 of the game’s greatest players.

“Basically, you’re just trying to get out of the way,” he said. “You dole out the minutes, which is a problem in itself. You just try not to get anyone upset.”


Friday: 7 p.m. vs. Dallas

Saturday: 8 p.m. at Houston


Player to watch: Harrison Barnes, Dallas

Once just a piece of the puzzle with the Warriors, he has become the featured scorer — averaging a career-high 20.1 points while playing nearly 36 minutes a game — on a Mavericks team that has reversed course by winning eight of the past 12 games.


“He’s a nemesis, but he has been a nemesis for a lot of people.”

Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau, asked how much effort he has spent throughout his career scheming to stop LeBron James.

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