The Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas on Wednesday, days before the start of the season.
“Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. “As an organization, we remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of.”
Minnesota opens training camp on Monday. Rosas was at the helm all offseason, making moves such as dealing Ricky Rubio and acquiring Patrick Beverley in a trade. Most recently, he re-signed Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin.
So the timing is the part that is most befuddling.
But red flags had been raised in recent months about how Rosas was running the basketball operations department, outside of winning basketball games, a source said. The culture — a word emphasized so often by Rosas himself — was troublesome to some.
And rather than allow that to fester, a source said the organization deemed it better to step in and make a change now.
The process used to hire Rosas in 2019 was championed as a collaborative effort involving a number of important voices across the organization. At the end of it, the Timberwolves were confident they got the right guy.
While Taylor is still the majority owner — a role he is expected to maintain for the next couple years — Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez did purchase a minority stake in the organization this offseason and are slated to eventually become majority owners and are already involved in decision-making processes in the organization.
On the court, the Timberwolves went 42-94 in two seasons under Rosas’ watch. Rosas, the first Latino to head an NBA basketball operations department, was active in his role in Minnesota. He traded away Andrew Wiggins and Robert Covington, traded for Ricky Rubio and then dealt him away months later, had draft home runs like Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, but also whiffed on Jarrett Culver.
It was Rosas who hired the previously interim coach, Ryan Saunders, as the full-time man, but fired Saunders in the middle of the 2020-21 season and almost immediately replaced him with Chris Finch.
The Wolves also announced Wednesday that Sachin Gupta, the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations under Rosas, will maintain the same title will overseeing the department moving forward. Gupta, a well-regarded analytical mind within the basketball community, was a finalist to take over the Sacramento Kings’ front office last offseason.
“We are committed to staying aligned to achieve our short-term goals and reach our long-term vision,” Taylor said in a statement.
The Timberwolves’ front office leadership position continues to feature a revolving door in Minnesota. Speaking to Dan Barreiro on KFXN-100.3 Wednesday, Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said she’s frustrated for Taylor about how things continue to work out with the Timberwolves.
“I think Glen deserves to experience the success with the amount of time and energy and money he’s put into this thing, I’m always rooting for him. That’s what I always land on,” Reeve said. “So I’m always hopeful for the next person every time that we go through some difficulties, and I’m hopeful this will be the time that we get it right.”
Reeve, by the way, does feel that Minnesota has one of the “right” people in Finch.
“I believe very, very strongly in Chris Finch as our coach,” she said. “I will stand by that.”
ESPN reported that Rosas was at the team’s facility earlier in the day Wednesday, even meeting with players. Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted what most were thinking in the immediate wake of the news: “wtf..”