After a Setback, a Season Watching From a Distance

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to treat it like a college professor taking a sabbatical,” he said.

So Thibodeau attended training camp with the Houston Rockets. He sat backstage with the performance troupe known as the Golden State Warriors. He hit the road with the Sacramento Kings. He met with coach after coach, trading ideas and jotting notes on things like management principles and offensive strategy.

All the while, Thibodeau was preparing for his next job — one that materialized in April, when the Minnesota Timberwolves made him their new coach.

The Timberwolves, with their young core, were 6-14 before their game Tuesday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Thibodeau may want to take another sabbatical soon.

“There’s a lot of room for growth,” he said. “If we’re doing the right things and we’re getting better, then eventually the wins are going to come.”

The 58-year-old Thibodeau, who coached the Bulls to a 255-139 record and five straight playoff appearances, is known for his defensive prowess and for being a hard-charging workaholic. Tony La Russa, the Hall of Fame baseball manager, said the Bulls…

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