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Sportress of Blogitude

Tom Thibodeau blows off critics’ ‘TimberBulls’ jabs

Tom Thibodeau does not appear to care about how his evident affinity for his former Chicago Bulls players has reshaped the Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster over the past two seasons has inspired the “TimberBulls” moniker. Actually, Thibodeau is not amused by it whatsoever.

“People are always going to talk about different things,” Thibodeau said this week at theNational Basketball Coaches Association’s annual coaches meeting, via NBA.com. “But these aren’t decisions that are just made on a whim.”

Thibodeau already had a Wolves roster boasting former Bulls Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose during the 2017-18 season. Thibs, who serves as Wolves head coach as well as the organization’s president of basketball operations, made it four former ex-Bulls with last week’s signing of Luol Deng.

Thibodeau defended the Deng signing as a sound basketball decision, although one other component helped things along.

“You’re familiar with them. they’re familiar with you,” Thibodeau said. “I’m not the only person who has ever coached Luol, coached Derrick, coached Jimmy or coached Taj. All four of those guys have had other suitors. You talk to ‘em and tell ‘em how they’ll fit in, and then they have to make a decision as to whether they want to come or not.”

The Wolves coach also pointed out signing Deng — and presumably acquiring Butler, Gibson and Rose as well — was the result of a collaborative process by the Wolves’ chief decision-makers.

“But to me, you look at the players who are available and you ask, ‘Can they make the team better?’” Thibodeau said. “From Glen Taylor, the owner, to [GM] Scott Layden, we talk things over. If we feel we can improve the team, we’re gonna do so. Particularly in a case like Luol, that’s why we [kept a roster spot open].”

The Timberwolves qualified for the playoffs last season for the first time in over a decade. And yet the consensus was the team failed to play to their full potential. And with rumors of inner turmoil plaguing the team, Thibodeau clearly has far more important issues that merit his focus, not some silly, sarcastic team nickname.