This is not a good sign less than a week before training camp opens.
The Timberwolves have announced the surprise firing of team President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas, the man with the hammer on personnel decisions in Minnesota. Here is the statement, from the desk of official team owner Glen Taylor:
“Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. As an organization, we remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of.”
The move caught everyone off-guard, coming less than a week before training camp is set to open and after Rosas has built the current roster. But it wasn’t just the media, team franchise cornerstone Karl-Anthony Towns was surprised.
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) September 22, 2021
It’s not a good sign when the team’s best player learns about front office shakeups on Twitter.
The Timberwolves are promoting from within for the interim job by giving the big chair to Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta, a story broken by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report and later confirmed by the team.
“Given the leadership changes announced earlier today, Sachin Gupta will assume basketball operations oversight while remaining Timberwolves Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations,” The team said in a statement. “We are committed to staying aligned to achieve our short-term goals and reach our long-term vision.”
While Taylor still is the owner in name, he is selling the franchise to billionaire Mark Lore and Yankees legend Alex Rodriguez, and sources have told NBC Sports that pair and their people have been calling the shots with the franchise since the summer. This firing is their decision; the new ownership team is clearly unhappy. Why is the question. The timing is strange. They let Rosas handle the draft, make offseason moves such as trading for Patrick Beverley, and then fire him after he has set the table for whoever follows in his footsteps?
It is not yet known if this is tied to the team’s pursuit of a Ben Simmons trade. The Timberwolves were one of the teams making offers that underwhelmed the 76ers, which in Minnesota’s case was an offer without Towns or star rookie Anthony Edwards (and ideally, from the Wolves’ perspective, without D'Angelo Russell, either). Minnesota was going to need at least a third team to strike a deal that met Philly’s standards, if that deal was even possible.
Rosas was aggressive and made a number of roster moves in his two years at the helm, the biggest of which was trading out Andrew Wiggins to bring in Towns’ friend Russell. There also was controversy around Rosas’ hiring of Chris Finch as coach.