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Tom Thibodeau says he’s not really interested in being an assistant coach again

Tom Thibodeau Knicks

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau poses for a photograph during the NBA basketball team’s media day at Target Center, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


There was a time when Tom Thibodeau was the hottest name among assistant coaches looking for a move to the big chair. He was the guy who designed the defense for Doc Rivers’ 2008 Boston title team, and he was the guy everybody wanted.

He got the job he wanted. First as head coach of the Chicago Bulls, then as coach and team president in Minnesota.

He’s not going back to that second chair. Rumors he would have been an assistant on Tyronn Lue’s staff in Los Angeles had he been hired by the Lakers never had much of a footing in reality, Thibodeau told the Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio.

“Probably not,” Thibodeau said.. “I’ve known Ty for a long time. I coached him in Houston, and when he first got into coaching, we were in Boston together so I consider him a really good friend. But I still have some time on my contract. I’ll be patient and just wait for the right opportunity to come along.”

That second to last sentence is the key — Thibodeau is still getting paid by the Timberwolves. He’s got plenty of money coming in, there is no pressure to rush back to the bench.

Thibodeau’s reputation took a hit with the Timberwolves, in part because he struggled to relate to the franchise’s young stars such as Karl-Anthony Towns, and in part because there’s a sense the league has passed his trademark defense by and he has yet to adapt. Whether any of that is true or not, we’d need to see him back on the bench to know for sure.

And he’s in no rush to make that happen.