Timberwolves 'rallying around' new head coach Ryan Saunders

Timberwolves fire Tom Thibodeau, may want Fred Hoiberg

Saunders supplants Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton (38), and has turned a career as a former player at the University of Minnesota and assistant with the Washington Wizards and Timberwolves into a surprising head coaching role at such a fresh age.

And Saunders, the son of the late Timberwolves coaching legend Flip Saunders, will be the leader players look to make that run happen.

Karl-Anthony Towns and other members of the Minnesota Timberwolves were stunned by the firing of team president and head coach Tom Thibodeau on Sunday, as relayed in a report from Malika Andrews of ESPN. Monty Williams and Chauncey Billups have also been reportedly discussed.

Rose said he was shocked and hurt by the dismissal, but also insisted the change wouldn't hinder his resurgence.

"You never know if you're ready until you're in the situation", Saunders said, "but I have great support".

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"I think all of this was kind of a critical mass for (Timberwolves owner) Glen Taylor to say, 'Something is just not working here". We're riding with him, and that's as simple as I can put it.

Thibodeau, who was one game short of the exact midpoint of his five-year contract that's worth about $40 million, was frequently booed during introductions at Target Center, where the Wolves are next-to-last in the league with an average of 14,765 tickets distributed per game.

Taylor said he was "just looking at the results".

Minnesota has now parted ways with Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler over the last two months. He was named the NBA Coach of the Year on May 1, 2011, after tying the record for most wins by a rookie head coach with 62. It's already been a whirlwind of a season thanks to Sunday's firing of Thibodeau and the Jimmy Butler trade on November 12.

The Timberwolves will play their first game without Thibodeau tonight at 8 P.M. EST against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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