If the Los Angeles Lakers were to move on from Byron Scott after just two seasons, there will be one less viable replacement on the market with Former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau agreeing to a five-year, $40 million deal on Wednesday afternoon with Minnesota Timberwolves to be the next coach and president of basketball operations.
Prior to reaching an agreement on that monster contract, the former 2011 NBA Coach of the Year was believed to have interest in becoming the head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers if the vacancy was available, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
It had long been rumored that Thibodeau was eyeing Los Angeles, but desired more power than the team’s ownership would be willing to allow. All of this simplified his decision to join the Timberwolves. What also didn’t help the situation was that the franchise didn’t attempt to recruit the 58-year-old.
Although the Lakers are coming off their worst regular season in franchise history, Thibodeau was confident that he could lure some of the top free agents to join the team. He has built a strong relationship with many of the game’s best players through his USA Basketball assistant coaching job with the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and James Harden.
It’s also believed that had Thibodeau been the head coach prior to this past season, he may have been able to convince LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with the Lakers last July.
Thibodeau experienced much success during his five-year tenure as the head coach of the Bulls making the playoff in each season, including garnering consecutive Central division titles in his first two years. During that time, Chicago also developed a strong identity through their stout defense that ranked among the best in the league.
Meanwhile, the Lakers over the last two seasons it was the first time in team history that they have had consecutive 60-plus losses while accumulating just 38 wins over that stretch. Los Angeles has also ranked in the bottom in the league defensively, including this past season giving up the fourth-most points per game (106.9), second-highest opponent field goal percentage (47.3), second-most opponent assists (24.7), and third-fewest opponent turnovers (12.1).