Wolves’ Glen Taylor: No Comment on GM
It’s evident the Timberwolves want someone with a high profile resume to become the leader of basketball operations in the front office. Sachin Gupta has been the interim boss since last September when Gerrson Rosas was dismissed for reportedly having an inappropriate relationship with an office employee and fostering a tense office environment.
Asked recently by Sports Headliners about developments in naming a leader of basketball operations, owner Glen Taylor said, “No, I don’t have any comments on that.”
Publicly, Taylor has remained noncommittal about Gupta who was a top assistant to Rosas. In a March interview with Sports Headliners Taylor said in regard to Gupta’s status “we’ll wait and see how this year goes.”
While Gupta is highly regarded in the organization, he has never led an NBA team as its GM or president of basketball operations. Perhaps prompted by aggressive ownership partners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, multiple media reports are that the franchise is in pursuit of a proven decision maker.
The list of best NBA basketball execs is short and it isn’t a slam dunk for the Wolves to draw interest. Things can be complicated by existing commitments or the fact candidates don’t see the Wolves franchise as a desirable destination.
Media reports have Minnesota talking with Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly who has been in Denver for almost 10 years. There is speculation Lore and Rodriguez have signed off on Connelly but any deal would need the blessing of majority owner Taylor.
Connelly is an NBA lifer whose team next season will rank among contenders to win the Western Conference. It’s reasonable to think the Wolves will pay the right executive $10 million annually. That’s believed to be far more than Connelly earns in Denver. Whether money talks loud enough for Connelly or another top leader to change residences will likely be known in the next seven days.
The NBA Draft is June 23 and with that date looming a candidate like Connelly will want to settle soon on where he is working. For now Gupta, with the title of executive VP of basketball operations, is running the pre-draft process for the Wolves. If ownership’s pursuit of a big name leader falls short, Gupta may see his title change to president of basketball operations—at least for awhile. Taylor, Lore and Rodriguez could be shopping again next spring.
The process leading to majority ownership by Lore and Rodriguez appears on track for their takeover in December of 2023. “They haven’t asked for any changes,” Taylor told Sports Headliners last week.
In that interview Taylor described Lore and Rodriquez as “wonderful guys.” Lore, an aggressive entrepreneur, is expected to bring innovation including technology to the franchise. “He’s a big thinker,” Taylor said.
Rodriquez was an MLB superstar who transitioned successfully to business. Taylor anticipates Rodriguez’s background as a player will bring a new perspective to Wolves ownership about how players want to be coached, and how players can best relate to one another. “A-Rod is just very likeable,” Taylor said.
While the new owners say they’re committed to keeping the franchise in Minneapolis, Lore and Rodriguez have made it known Target Center (opened in 1990) needs to be replaced with a new arena in coming years. “I think we’ll have to do something,” Taylor said. “I think it will be more their priority than mine.”
Of more immediate concern is the draft when the Wolves will select at No. 19 in the first round and then have three second round picks. Asked what the Timberwolves are looking for in the first round, Taylor identified power forward as a priority. Another need could be a backup for starting center Karl-Anthony Towns.
With draft choices and trades, this offseason could see roster changes. Regarding potential trades, do the Wolves have untouchables? “I would put Karl on there, that’s for sure.” Taylor said about his NBA All-Star
Does 20-year-old Anthony Edwards receive the same label? “I sure would,” Taylor answered about Edwards who led all NBA rookies in scoring a year ago.
While the Wolves earned their way into the NBA playoffs this spring for only the third time since 2004, the experience left Taylor unsatisfied. He said “quite frankly” his team could have won the best of seven series against the Grizzlies, instead of losing 4-2.
“We just had letdowns that affected our whole team. Players just backed off on defense and didn’t do what the coach expected of them and that really hurt us. They did that kind of by quarter. They just had periods of 12 minutes where they didn’t do it and it’s just enough to lose the game.
“…I saw some really great things that they could do and they did do, so I am a little disappointed that important games like what we had in the playoffs the guys couldn’t carry through all 48 minutes.”