In the midst of the latest reshuffle, the T-Wolves seek stability with new owners
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The joke Karl-Anthony Towns made last week was the ultimate spell, casually noting what had been a rare lack of rolling and uproar for the Timberwolves at this point.
“I was like, ‘Man, it’s been a really quiet offseason for Minnesota. It’s very different, ”Towns said.
The next day came the “boom,” as the star center put it, the sacking of basketball operations president Gersson Rosas just six days before training camp began.
“Just add it to the list. It’s just the same every time. It’s something that always leads to instability, ”Towns said on Monday, attending the annual media day at team headquarters.
While Rosas’ sacking after less than 2.5 years on the job ranks high on the long list of dramatic turning points for this often troubled franchise, players well conditioned to change have taken a nonchalant stance towards the untimely front-line reshuffle. office during their first public interview sessions since the end of the 2020-21 season delayed by the pandemic.
“My personal reaction? I didn’t really have one. I was on the golf course. I heard about the news and just tried to focus on my next shot, to be honest, ”said guard D’Angelo Russell. “But it’s just the world we live in, the business we live in.”
Rosas has put his mark on the roster with multiple trades, headlining the deal with Golden State to get Russell in February 2020. Of the 20 players starting training camp with the team this week, only Towns and goaltender Josh Okogie were present before Rosas was hired. .
Although the summer has been slow on transactions, with the acquisition of veteran NBA goaltender Patrick Beverley the most important, coach Chris Finch has only been around for seven months.
The 41 games Finch played last season after replacing Ryan Saunders were barely enough for all parties to find a comfort zone in an era of COVID-19 protocols and largely empty arenas, especially given the he rash of injuries that kept Towns, Russell, Malik Beasley – three of the top four scorers – often on the sidelines. They missed a total of 87 games.
“While I’m lucky to have so many great teammates to play with, I haven’t had the chance to really build real relationships with anyone either because always the instability, always the change. “said Towns, entering his seventh year in the league.
The only place the Timberwolves have had consistency has been at the top, since Glen Taylor bought the team in 1994. Now even their ownership is being overhauled, with the transfer of control from Taylor to Marc Lore and Alex. Rodriguez on the move.
The particularly deliberate process, with Lore and Rodriguez set to become majority partners in two years, was designed to give Taylor the opportunity to guide new sports team owners as they familiarize themselves with the inner workings of the NBA, the culture of the Timberwolves – and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx – and the fabric of the Twin Cities market.
Lore, the e-commerce entrepreneur, and Rodriguez, the former baseball star, struck a $ 1.5 billion deal late last season to buy the club from Taylor. They held their introductory press conference before the players took the stage and spoke confidently about their ability to work with Taylor on decisions for the direction of the organization while the 80-year-old still holds a majority stake.
“I think it’s important in any partnership to get people involved and get them involved as soon as possible,” Taylor said.
This included the bold move to fire Rosas last week and elevate Executive Vice President Sachin Gupta to full authority over basketball operations.
Rosas, according to several reports, was fired due to growing internal concerns about the discord surrounding his relationships within the organization. Taylor, Lore, Rodriguez, Gupta and Finch all declined to comment on Rosas, citing mostly legal ramifications, but also looking for an opportunity to try to paint a brighter picture after the Timberwolves’ latest dark turn.
“The past week has been a little bit crazy for me,” Gupta said.
With Lore and Rodriguez each based on the East Coast, and the Timberwolves playing in a renovated but dated arena with reduced attendance before the pandemic due to their perpetual loss, fans have raised questions about how long the new owners will be. engaged in Minnesota. Taylor, after all, blocked the Timberwolves from moving to New Orleans after a deal struck by original owners Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolfenson fell apart. Taylor bought the club instead for $ 88 million in order to keep it as a community asset.
“We have no plans to move,” Rodriguez said. “Our plan is to be here.”
They’ll be very busy trying to instill a new culture and a need for optimism into a franchise that has only made the playoffs once in the past 17 seasons.
“I like the change. I love challenges, ”Taylor said,“ and I think both are ahead of us. ”
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