Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez have been minority stakeholders of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx organization for two months. They are not expected to become majority owners until 2023.
And yet it may already be time for them to begin to put their stamp on the organization — way ahead of schedule, purely out of circumstance.
Wednesday’s firing of Gersson Rosas — and the reasons for which it occurred — is just the latest embarrassment for the Timberwolves. It seems like the moment one black eye begins to heal, another punch is landed squarely to the socket.
Too often, the problems have started at the top — the general manager, president of basketball operations, whatever you want to call the basketball boss.
The performances from those manning that post have been poor and the turnover has been all too frequent.
So here the Timberwolves are again, in search of another head decision-maker. It’s a seat Sachin Gupta currently occupies, while maintaining his current title of executive vice president of basketball operations.
He steps into a precarious situation. Does Gupta currently have the freedom to improve the roster as he sees fit, including making a potential deal for disgruntled Philadelphia forward Ben Simmons? Or is any potential move on hold until the Timberwolves make a determination on who is best suited to lead the basketball operations department into the future?
Maybe Gupta, an analytical mind who is well respected in the basketball community and has been a candidate for recent similar openings around the NBA, will indeed be the long-term solution. That would be a tidy fix for an organization that constantly has to clean up after itself.
But that’s not a decision anyone currently inside the organization should make. They’ve had their chances to do so and failed. Longtime owner Glen Taylor has whiffed again and again when attempting to fill the role through various methods that have ranged from search firms to personal recommendations.
For this last hire, Timberwolves high-ranking brass members and others close to the organization huddled up, stuck their heads together and, through a process they highly lauded, came up with … Gersson Rosas.
Swing and a massive miss.
Those high-ranking members are still around in similar roles, but the decision has to end up in someone else’s hands if a different result is to be expected.
Enter Lore and Rodriguez.
The new owners are still in the process of evaluating the entire organization, finding out what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to be most emphasized moving forward. Amid that ongoing process, they were called in for emergency mop-up duty.
Welcome to Minnesota.
The cycle of embarrassment, on and off the court, has to end.
If a fresh start was ever needed, it’s now. The franchise is equipped with a young, vibrant, potential superstar in Anthony Edwards, who appears fully capable of reviving and captivating the state’s large, starving basketball fan base. But he needs to be set up for success in a way past promising talents growing up in this franchise were not.
The person tasked with cultivating that environment will shape the franchise’s outlook for years to come. That’s why the decision should, and certainly will, land in the laps of the two men who will lead the organization into the future. Lore and Rodriguez will officially be introduced at a press conference Monday morning, at the start of media day.
They haven’t yet made their mark on this organization. Wednesday was not some step into a new era — it was the first move in trying to clear up the freshest stain. The bleach isn’t yet dry.
Selecting the new basketball boss, however, would provide a true opportunity to make an immediate, potentially positive impact.
Lore is highly confident in his hiring process, which he has used to tab top executives at his highly successful start-up companies. Would such an approach work here? There is no reason to think otherwise.
Besides, it couldn’t be worse than reverting to any of Taylor’s previous practices, which have failed time and again.
There is little sense in delaying a step into the future, especially given this franchise’s problem-filled past and present.