MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The joke Karl-Anthony Towns made last week was the ultimate curse when he casually noted what had been a rare absence of turnover and turmoil for the Timberwolves until then.
“I thought, ‘Man, it’s been a really quiet off-season for Minnesota. It’s very different, ‘”Towns said.
The next day came the “boom”, as star center put it, the dismissal of basketball boss Gersson Rosas just six days before the start of the training camp.
“Just add it to the list. It’s the same every time. It always leads to instability, ”Towns said on Monday as he attended the annual media day at team headquarters.
Though Rosas’ sacking after less than 2 1/2 years on the job will be high on the long list of dramatic twists and turns for this often troubled franchise, players well prepared for change took a casual stance on the untimely makeover from . on the front office during their first public interview sessions since the end of the 2020/21 pandemic delayed season.
“My personal reaction? I didn’t really have one. I’ve been to the golf course. I heard the news and was just trying to focus on my next shot to be honest, ”said Warden D’Angelo Russell. “But it’s just the world we live in, the business we live in.”
Rosas made his mark on the roster with multiple trades, led by 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 security guard Josh Okogie were there before Rosas was hired.
Though the summer has been slow in transactions, with the most significant taking on 10-year NBA veteran Patrick Beverley, coach Chris Finch has only been in the business 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 injury rate, the Towns, Russell, Malik Beasley – three of the top four scorers – often on the sidelines. Together they missed 87 games.
“Even though I’m blessed to play with so many great team-mates, I haven’t had a chance to develop really real relationships with anyone because there is always instability, always change,” said Towns, who is entering the league in his seventh year.
The only place the Timberwolves have been consistent has been at the top since Glen Taylor bought the team in 1994. Now even their ownership is being revised, with control being transferred from Taylor to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez.
The particularly deliberate process, in which Lore and Rodriguez are scheduled to become majority partners in two years’ time, should give Taylor the opportunity to mentor first-time sports team owners as they learn about the inner workings of the NBA, the culture of the Timberwolves – and the Minnesota Lynx the WNBA – and the structure of the Twin Cities market.
Lore, the e-commerce entrepreneur, and Rodriguez, the former baseball star, reached a $ 1.5 billion agreement late last season to buy the club from Taylor. They held their introductory press conference before the players took the stage and spoke confidently of their ability to work with Taylor on decisions about the direction of the organization while the 80-year-old still holds a controlling interest.
“I think it’s important in any partnership to get people involved and get them involved as soon as possible,” said Taylor.
That included the bold move last week to sack Rosas and elevate Executive Vice President Sachin Gupta to full authority over basketball operations.
Rosas has been fired, according to several reports, because of increasing internal concerns about discord over his relationships within the organization. Taylor, Lore, Rodriguez, Gupta and Finch declined to comment on Rosas, mostly citing legal ramifications but also looking for an opportunity to paint a brighter picture for the Timberwolves after the last dark turn.
“The last week has been a little crazy for me,” said Gupta.
With Lore and Rodriguez each based on the east coast and the Timberwolves playing in a renovated but outdated low-attendance arena prior to the pandemic due to their constant losses, fans have raised questions about how long the new owners will stay in Minnesota. Taylor eventually saved the Timberwolves from moving to New Orleans after a deal failed between original owners Harvey Ratner and Marv Wolfenson. Taylor instead bought the club for $ 88 million to keep it as a community good.
“We have no plans to move,” said Rodriguez. “Our plan is to be right here.”
You’ll be busy bringing a new culture and optimism to a franchise that has only made the playoffs once in the last 17 seasons.
“I like change. I like challenges, “said Taylor,” and I think both of us are in front of us. “
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