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NBA News and Notes: January 10, 2019

Here is a quick look at some of the biggest news stories this week from around the NBA.

Timberwolves Fire Thibodeau

The biggest news story of the week was the Minnesota Timberwolves firing head coach Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau was also serving as the Timberwolves president of basketball operations prior to the firing. Things didn’t go very well for Thibodeau in Minnesota after a terrific run with the Chicago Bulls. He posted a 255-139 record in Chicago but was just 97-107 in his two-plus seasons in Minnesota. Thibodeau did guide Minnesota to the playoffs a season ago, ending a 13-year drought of the Timberwolves. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor named Ryan Saunders as the interim coach and announced that general manager Scott Layden will take over the role of day-to-day operations. Saunders, 32, is now the youngest coach in the NBA and is the son of the late Timberwolves coach, Flip Saunders.

Cousins Targeting January 18

DeMarcus Cousins is planning on making his Golden State Warriors debut on January 18 in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Cousins has yet to play this season after suffering a season-ending injury to his Achilles tendon a season ago. The Warriors have had Cousins practicing with the team since November as they try to ease him back into game action. Cousins is a four-time All-Star in the Western Conference and was having a monster season in New Orleans before suffering the injury last January. Cousins was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists before the injury ended his season. The Warriors signed Cousins to a one-year deal in the offseason in hopes that he would be ready to contribute in the playoffs.

Love Unsure Of Return Date

It looks like the Cleveland Cavaliers will be without All-Star forward Kevin Love until after the All-Star Break. Love was originally expected to be back sometime around the new year but told reporters that he will remain in a walking boot for at least two more weeks. Doctors recommended Love have surgery to remove cartilage and have fluid drained from his left big toe. Love suffered the foot injury during the preseason and was only able to play in four games this season before the pain got to be too much. The Cavaliers signed Love to a four-year $120 million contract extension before the start of the 2018-19 season. If Cleveland chooses to trade Love, they must wait until January 24. Love averaged 19 points and 13.5 rebounds in the four games that he played this season.

Nets, Lakers Playing in China

The NBA announced that the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will play a pair preseason of games in China during the 2019-2020 season. The two teams will square off on October 10 in Shanghai and will meet up again on October 12 in Shenzhen. These will be the 27th, and 28th NBA games played in the country of China. Los Angeles has played in China once before, during the 2013 preseason, and the Nets will be making their third China trip. In total, 17 different NBA franchises have played a game in China since the beginning of the NBA China program launched in 2008.

McCaw Signing With Raptors

The Toronto Raptors are expected to sign free agent guard Patrick McCaw. McCaw has played in just three games this season after being an unsigned restricted free-agent. The Cleveland Cavaliers signed McCaw to an offer sheet, that was not matched by the Golden State Warriors. After appearing in just three games for Cleveland, the Cavaliers waived McCaw before his contract would have been guaranteed. McCaw is expected to sign a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Raptors, and should provide depth at the guard position in Toronto.

Nerlens Noel Suffers Concussion

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced that center Nerlens Noel suffered a concussion in a game on Tuesday night. Noel was injured when he took an elbow from Andrew Wiggins while challenging a dunk attempt and came crashing to the floor. Noel laid on the floor for several minutes before eventually being taken off on a stretcher and straight to the hospital. The team announced that he has since been released from the hospital, and is now in the NBA’s concussion protocol.