CHICAGO - Since May 28th of last year, the question seemed to be not if but when he'd be back.
While the Bulls may not have valued Tom Thibodeau as a head coach, a number of organizations coveted the skill set of the coach whose won nearly 65 percent of his games in the NBA.
One of those was the team whom gave the coach his start in the NBA. Going forward with an interim head coach for the 2015-2016 season following the death of Flip Saunders, it appeared that Thibodeau and the Timberwolves could be a potential combination for the future.
After a few weeks of talk and days of more intense speculation Thibodeau is going back home, so to speak.
Twenty-Seven years after taking his first assistant coach job with team Thibodeau was named the head coach of the Timberwolves while also assuming the job as the President of Basketball Operations. ESPN has reported the deal to be for five-years for $40 million with the higher salary coming with added responsibility and control over the future of the franchise.
It's one he began his professional coaching career with back in 1989 when he joined the Timberwolves in their inaugural season as an assistant coach, staying through the 1991 season.
“Through this process we quickly identified Tom as the best leader to shape our talented team and help them realize their full potential. Tom’s resume speaks for itself. He is a proven winner, leader and one of the most well-respected NBA head coaches over the last decade," said owner Glen Taylor in a statement released by the team. "His teams have annually been among the league leaders in defense and we are excited about the approach and mentality he will bring to that side of the ball.
"The future of the Minnesota Timberwolves has never been brighter and we are very pleased to have Tom as our basketball operations leader moving forward."
It's one that has upside despite a 29-53 record this past season. The roster is relatively young featuring two No. 1 overall picks in the NBA Draft with Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. The dynamic Zach LaVine, a two-time Slam Dunk champion, will enter his third year in the league in 2016-2017.
While his methods were questioned by the Chicago Bulls front office and ultimately led to his firing last may, Thibodeau had plenty of success during his years in the Windy City.
He led the Bulls to the playoffs in each of his five seasons and twice had the best record in the Eastern Conference. In 2011 Thibodeau won the NBA Coach of the Year as he took the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat. He finished his time with the Bulls with a 255-139 record.