MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Timberwolves hosted Media Day on Monday, and it was the first chance to hear from Glen Taylor, Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore publicly as the franchise goes through a change at the top and the team starts training camp.
There was also a big change in the front office last week, with the firing of President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas due to what was deemed "performance reasons." The Timberwolves went 42-94 with Rosas in charge of the front office. Reports also emerged that Rosas was also involved in a relationship with a front office staff member. That person has not been identified publicly, but the staffer is also no longer with the team.
Sachin Gupta is now the new president of basketball operations, and Taylor doesn’t see it being an interim situation.
"I’m confident that we’re set for the future and I think we’ve made our immediate decisions," Taylor said.
Taylor wouldn’t talk about Rosas’ firing, and also didn’t comment on the on-going speculation around the team attempting to trade for Ben Simmons. Taylor was asked if he takes responsibility for the franchise making one playoff appearance since 2004, and the ongoing dysfunction within the organization. Last year, Rosas fired Ryan Saunders after a 7-24 start, and hours later, Chris Finch was named his replacement.
"It always falls on my shoulders. Credit is given to you when things go good and you’re the leader. When things go through difficult times, I think the leader has to step up and take responsibility. I’m willing to do that," Taylor said. "If I should be criticized, I’m willing to accept that."
Led by Rosas, the Wolves made a massive roster overhaul in February of 2020. They sent Andrew Wiggins to the Golden State Warriors in a deal that brought D’Angelo Russell to Minneapolis. The move left the Wolves without a selection in this year’s NBA Draft.
Shortly after learning of Rosas' firing, Wolves star forward Karl-Anthony Towns went to social media in shock, posting "wtf…" He was asked about it Monday.
"At the end of the day, I have to continue being a professional. Being transparent, what happened last week just added to the list. I’ve been through everything. The death of a head coach, numerous front offices, I’m blessed with great teammates but haven’t built relationships because of change," Towns said.
GLEN TAYLOR: WOLVES SALE WASN’T JUST ABOUT MONEY
Glen Taylor has owned the Timberwolves since 1994. He’s now 80 years old, and is realistic about his future. It was time to find new leadership, and after hosting Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore at his Mankato home, Taylor is confident the franchise will be in good hands.
He said working with Rodriguez and Lore wasn’t just a financial move.
"It wasn’t just money because I had the opportunity to sell it for more money. It’s the right people to continue the leadership. We’re going on some difficult times, the economy is like crap. Who knows what’s going to happen, we need to keep good people around," Taylor said.
Rodriguez played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, was a 14-time All-Star and is a World Series champion. How will that translate to ownership? He says it’s all in the details.
"I know how difficult and hard it is, the road to a championship. It took me 15 years. I’m really excited to bring my experience both in business and in sports and in a locker room to Minnesota," Rodriguez said.
The details include food at the facility, the medical staff, how they travel and yes, even shower heads.
"It’s the smallest little details that make the biggest difference. Building a great foundation. Building honesty, transparency and fairness, and doing it with the absolute best people in the business," Rodriguez said.
Lore brings more of a business approach as a former Walmart CEO. He says to get Minnesota to a championship level, it’s about finding the best people and players.
"People is the hardest part to get right. In order to attract the best people and the best players, it all starts with a solid, incredible culture."
Both Rodriguez and Lore made it very clear there are no intensions of moving the Timberwolves out of Minnesota.