ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show Thursday (synergy!) and dropped some speculative news that spread like wildfire in the Twin Cities. Here’s what Windhorst said:
Sam Mitchell is the interim coach. I don’t think he’s keeping that job long term and I think the people in the Timberwolves organization are already looking at Tom Thibodeau. In fact, I’ll just tell you, sources are telling me that there’s already been some cursory contact between either back channels or whatever between the Wolves and Thibodeau.
Sources … cursory … back channels. It’s thin smoke, but it’s certainly smoke that could lead to a fire. Whether it does is another question. Whether any of this chatter in the middle of a season is fair to Mitchell — even if his title is only interim head coach — is a larger question.
In my mind, the most interesting thing Windhorst said was this, after he lavished praise on Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns while also noting the Wolves job is still a rebuild featuring lowered expectations:
“They’re gonna have another high draft pick, they’re gonna have cap space. I think that’s the best job that’s gonna be available this summer.“
It’s been a long time since anyone could reasonably hold that opinion. When Rick Adelman took over, it was a fairly attractive job, with Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love as the anchors. But you could make a compelling argument that Windhorst is correct.
Now, there’s a difference between most attractive job and most attractive available job. But still: there are some pretty good coaches out there (and Thibodeau, who had a very nice run with the Bulls, is at the top of my list). If the Wolves really are the most attractive job out there, and they decide to part ways with Mitchell, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to make a very good hire.