Timberwolves make big front office change in midst of Ben Simmons trade talks

It’s a weird time to make a major front office change, but the Minnesota Timberwolves have done it anyway.

With training camps approaching around the NBA, it would be odd to fire a coach or make a major front office change right now. On Wednesday the Minnesota Timberwolves made just such a significant move, announcing via a statement from owner Glen Taylor they have parted ways with president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.

“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.”

Rosas was going into his third season as the Timberwolves’ front office leader. He has managed to overhaul the roster, finding a way to offload the ill-advised max contract given to Andrew Wiggins most notably. The draft has been good (Anthony Edwards) and bad (Jarrett Culver), and what would’ve been a top-10 pick this year was lost to Golden State via the implications of the Wiggins trade. The move to hire Chris Finch as head coach looked like Rosas being allowed to hire “his guy” based on the pair’s history in Houston.

Minnesota has still only made the playoffs once since a run to the Western Conference Finals… in 2004.

The Timberwolves make another in a long line of weird moves

A recent agreement for Taylor to sell the team to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez may be a factor here, but Taylor will maintain controlling ownership of the team for a couple years as he apparently mentors Lore and Rodriguez. The move with Rosas wasn’t going to be called a firing, but painting it as a “parting of ways” points to it being somewhat mutual.

Wolves’ star Karl-Anthony Towns has reacted to the news, with disbelief that certainly puts him in the majority.

The Timberwolves are also a betting favorite to trade for Ben Simmons. Rosas has drawn rightful praise for his patience, as the 76ers lose leverage seemingly by the day and the offers they want aren’t coming in. Minnesota also doesn’t necessarily have the assets to make an appealing offer to Philadelphia, which has invited the idea of a third team needing to be involved.

Taylor’s statement professed a continuing commitment to building a winning team “our fans and city can be proud of.” That is pure PR after a move that has already drawn reactions like Towns’, and what exactly letting Rosas go right now accomplishes is unclear at best and inexplicable at worst.

Unless there’s something else in play that may not ever be revealed, there’s a common denominator in all these weird situations for the Timberwolves. It’s the current owner, who wants to hang on to “mentor” the guys who are buying the team from him. Maybe Rosas just wanted no part of the working conditions anymore, and Taylor obliged by letting him go.

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