Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Dec. 14): Thibodeau gets revenge with win in Chicago

NBA.com Staff

Thibodeau victorious in return to Chicago | Fizdale: Don’t expect to see Coach LeBron | Noel “curious” to see Sixers centers together | Cavaliers to upgrade The Q

No. 1: Thibodeau victorious in return to Chicago

During his tenure as coach of the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau was known for his intense, obsessive focus and non-stop attention to detail. Last night at the United Center in Chicago, Thibs was greeted warmly as he returned for the first time since being dismissed as Bulls coach and being hired in Minnesota. And while his Timberwolves got down 21-points early, they made a comeback and managed to leave Chicago with a win. As good a win as it was for the Wolves, it was an even worse loss for the Bulls, as Nick Friedell writes for ESPN…

Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t take the bait.

Fresh off the Minnesota Timberwolves’ emotional 99-94 win over the Chicago Bulls, Thibodeau wasn’t about to give the reporters in front of him the easy answer, that this game against his old team meant more to him.

“As you’re probably aware, we need a win,” Thibodeau said. “Getting the win was what we needed.”

Thibodeau didn’t just get a much needed victory for his struggling group on Tuesday night, he got a measure of revenge. Fired after the 2014-15 campaign — after five successful years at the helm — Thibodeau got the upper hand against his former bosses on this night by helping the Timberwolves overcome a 21-point first-half deficit.

Thibodeau tried to downplay just how much this game meant to him, but even the veteran coach couldn’t suppress a smile after the final horn sounded. His players and coaches knew this game meant more to him, that’s why there was a loud ovation coming from the Timberwolves’ locker room after this game was over. No matter how Thibodeau tried to answer the questions, those closest to him knew this game was one of the sweeter victories of his career, given the circumstances.

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No. 2: Fizdale: Don’t expect to see Coach LeBron

Before becoming head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, David Fizdale was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat, winning a few titles with a roster that included LeBron James. And while Fizdale says LeBron has an amazing basketball mind, Fizdale also says don’t hold your breath if you’re hoping to see James transition to coaching when he’s done playing, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes…

“I wouldn’t be the coach that I am if I didn’t get a chance to coach him and be around him and spend time with him,” Fizdale said before the Grizzlies played the Cavs on Tuesday. “So a lot of my success I owe to him and that team and that group of guys that we had down there in Miami.”

Although Fizdale considers James “a one-percentile guy when it comes to basketball intelligence,” he doesn’t anticipate the three-time champion following his career path and one day manning an NBA sideline with whiteboard in hand.

“No,” Fizdale said when asked about a potential future in coaching for James. “He would kill somebody. Perfection is like [his standard]. He wants perfection. I could see him actually owning his own team and doing something like that, but I think [as a coach], he would end up killing a player at some point because they wouldn’t live up to the expectations that he would set forth.”

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No. 3: Noel “curious” to see Sixers centers together

For years, the Philadelphia 76ers trusted the process, and now they find themselves with three young, quality NBA bigs in Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. And while this summer it looked as though the Sixers were facing a logjam in the post, now Noel says he’s “curious” to see how the big three can coexist, writes Keith Pompey for the Philly.com…

“I wasn’t curious before,” Noel said, “but now that we are actually here, I guess that I am curious, whatever that means. But we will let that play out as long as it needs to.”

Bottom of Form

Noel has changed his tune. On Sept. 25, he said that having three starting-caliber centers on the roster did not make sense.

But based on recent practices, Noel gets the impression that two big men will be on the floor together. The thought is that the Sixers will create a high-low offense, he said.

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No. 4: Cavaliers to upgrade The Q

The Cleveland Cavaliers have played their home games in the Quicken Loans Arena since 1994, an eternity by modern sports franchise standards. Yesterday the Cavs announced plans to upgrade The Q, spending $140 million to modernize the arena, as the Associated Press writes…

The Cavs and Cuyahoga County officials believe the arena needs an exterior face-lift and massive interior upgrades to better accommodate fans and attract future events. The Q currently hosts 200-plus events annually. The Republican National Convention was held there in July.

Under the proposal, the Cavs, who are extending their lease to 2034, will pay $70 million with the balance being picked up by the county to expand the arena. The Q will remain open during construction, which is slated to begin in 2017 and take approximately two years to complete.

As part of the reconstruction, the building will be modernized with a glass front, and public gathering spaces will be added along with food and beverage areas.

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