Flip Saunders, the guy calling the shots in Minnesota, has been looking to hire a general manager. Saunders wanted somebody to do the day-to-day GM work (scouting, dealing with agents who call) and provide another voice on team issues.
Apparently he found his guy in the Wizards front office, reports Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 radio in Minnesota.
Washington Wizards Vice President of player personnel, Milt Newton, will join the Timberwolves as the team’s general manager, according to a team source. Newton will be heavily involved in pro scouting.
The Wolves also plan on elevating Rob Babcock to a vice president of personnel position.
Make no mistake, Saunders will still be the guy with the big hammer who can approve or reject trades, the guy with the final say on contracts, draft picks and all other things basketball. But Newton and Babcock will have a lot of input. For example, when it comes to the draft it will be Newton who will do a lot of the scouting (and dealing with the team scouts) and making the pitch to Saunders on what the draft board should look like.
This kind of arrangement can work if all the parties are on the same page. It should work here.
Saunders is trying to build a different culture than under David Kahn, a guy who had a strained relationship with Kevin Love (Sauders has a much better one) and made some really odd decisions during his tenure (but also put together the core of this team which could well make the playoffs this year if they stay healthy). Newton is part of that change.