Fred Hoiberg’s name was linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves coaching job long before Tom Thibodeau was even fired. Minnesota owner Glen Taylor is the cause of the rumors, as a source told NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh: “Glen loves Fred.”
So when Thibodeau was fired by Minnesota, it wasn’t a surprise Hoiberg’s name came up quickly, what was unexpected was to see him linked to a possible front office/GM role.
Hoiberg — whose name has come up in relation to the UCLA coaching search — told Zach Lowe of ESPN what he wants to do is coach, not work in a front office again.
“My passion is in coaching,” Hoiberg said, “and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Does that mean coaching in the NBA or college (where UCLA would not be the only prestigious offer to come his way)?
“I am not prioritizing one over the other in respect to the NBA and college,” Hoiberg said. “The jobs are so different that you cannot compare them, so I plan on evaluating whatever opportunities may come independently.”
Earlier reports suggested Hoiberg’s preference is to remain in the NBA. However, Hoiberg is smart to keep his options open, there are college jobs that could be more stable than certain NBA franchises. Having experience as an NBA coach, he has a better idea what to look for with any future jobs.
If Hoiberg came to Minnesota it would be the second time he will have succeeded Thibodeau, he did the same in Chicago. In that stop, Hoiberg could not change the fortunes of a team that had key players in decline, and he struggled to get players such as Jimmy Butler on board with his style and plan.
The Timberwolves are going to split the general manager and coaching responsibilities going forward (note: technically Thibodeau was not the GM, Scott Layden was and is, but this is a use of GM as the person making basketball personnel decisions). Whoever ends up leading the front office has to be on the same page and able to work with Hoiberg, or any arrangement will be destined to fail.