In a move that shocked the Twins Cities’ sports and NBA communities, the Minnesota Timberwolves terminated the contract of president Gersson Rosas on Wednesday. The only mention of the firing came in a hastily prepared statement from owner Glen Taylor.
“Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. As an organization, we remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of.”
Minnesota Timberwolves name Gupta as the interim president
The surprise dismissal comes just days before the Timberwolves begin their training camp for the new season. It also occurs at a time when they are still in the hunt for the services of disgruntled 76ers star, Ben Simmons. The Wolves immediately named vice president of basketball operations, Sachin Gupta as the interim president. Gupta becomes the first person of Indian origin to run an NBA team’s operations.
Why the decision and why now?
So, what led to this stunning, poorly-timed decision. Rosas was about to start his third season with the team and from all appearances, was firmly in control of the team’s destiny. Not only did the firing occur on the eve of training camp, but it also occurred post-NBA draft and also after a summer where the Wolves had made a couple of key acquisitions. Rosas had also undertaken a complete overhaul of the roster with only Josh Okogie and Karl-Anthony Towns remaining from the pre-Rosas era. He traded for key components of the team like D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley. He also supervised the team’s prolific 2020 draft where the Wolves added Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniel, and incoming rookie Leandro Bolmaro.
ANTHONY EDWARDS IS SPECIAL. pic.twitter.com/P8JWp24K6V
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 15, 2021
The decision was made, sources say, after months of evaluation by the ownership team, including new owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez. Some described Rosas’ management style as dysfunctional, which in turn, produced a tense atmosphere in the Timberwolves’ offices.
Gupta move blocked
To illustrate this, several staffers mentioned Rosas’ decision to block Gupta from taking a lateral position with the Houston Rockets. Some also criticized Rosas for not hiring an internal interim coach at the time of Ryan Saunders’ termination in February. The Wolves instead immediately Chris Finch plucked off of the Toronto Raptors’ bench to take over. Several player agents also complained that Rosas’ had not dealt with them in an even-handed fashion.
An extra-marital relationship that the married Rosas’ engaged in with another front-office staffer served as the trigger for the decision. My Minnesota Wolves insider tells me that there was widespread knowledge of the affair long before the termination occurred. The exposure of the relationship was simply an excuse to oust Rosas out of his position immediately.
Star center Karl-Anthony Towns had this to say about the decision on Twitter.
My inside source also conferred to me that it is difficult to believe that Towns had not been consulted about the decision before the announcement. This source says there is no way an integral part of the franchise like Towns would not have had prior knowledge of the decision.
What’s next for the Minnesota Timberwolves
So, the Minnesota Timberwolves. the NBA’s most chaotic franchise marches on. Gupta has been given some assurances that he will be given every chance to compete for the permanent position. Another possible replacement is Philadelphia general manager Elton Brand. New owner Rodriguez considers him to be one of the most talented front-office staffers in the league. Also, look for the Simmons trade discussions to heat up again. Stay tuned. You never know what will happen next in the wacky world of the Minnesota Timberwolves.