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What does Gersson Rosas' firing signal for the Marc Lore-Alex Rodriguez regime?

Chris Hine, Star Tribune on

Published in Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS — During a conversation in Las Vegas last month, new Wolves minority owner Marc Lore expounded upon one of his philosophies of building successful businesses — that each enterprise must have three core values that relate to everything it does as an organization.

He then said this: "Right now, and everyone would agree, there's not a clear set of three core values that the team is living by or a clear mission statement of why we exist as an organization."

Lore then said he has never been afraid to make decisions that may cause people on the outside to scratch their heads. If the decision was important to uphold the company's core values, he would make it.

Current Wolves controlling owner Glen Taylor ultimately had his name on the statement that announced the surprising firing of former President Gersson Rosas on Wednesday, but it was a decision that Taylor made in conjunction with Lore and Alex Rodriguez. All three are scheduled to speak publicly as the Timberwolves open training camp Monday, but Wednesday's decision bears resemblance to how Lore has run his other businesses and could be a sign of what Wolves fans can expect when he and Rodriguez are scheduled to take over as controlling owners in 2023.

Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, did not return a call seeking comment.

Rosas was alienating people within the Wolves organization with how he was conducting business over the last year, with morale reaching a low point over the summer for some in the building, multiple sources have said. Some people thought their voices weren't heard in decision making, and Rosas had a strained relationship with his No. 2, executive vice president Sachin Gupta, over a variety of issues.

Gupta is taking over the day-to-day job of running the franchise while maintaining the same title while there will be a search for a permanent replacement. That search could involve Gupta, a finalist for the Kings general manager opening last year. A source said Gupta and Rosas had come to an understanding about working together going forward prior to Wednesday's news, which shocked many inside and outside the team.

 

But given the low morale in the organization — plus the revelation of Rosas' recent actions involving a female employee who is also no longer with the team — Lore, Rodriguez and Taylor decided to act now on removing Rosas. Lore has already been in the process of examining all facets of the organization, basketball operations included, to come up with those three values. While the Wolves haven't figured out exactly what exactly those values will be, Lore, Rodriguez and Taylor determined Rosas' tenure did not match up with what they were looking for in light of what had transpired with Rosas over the last few months since they came aboard.

Monday's press conference could help answer just how the three will choose the next Wolves president, and who will make the ultimate call on that hire. Some names that could surface during the search are 76ers general manager Elton Brand, Nuggets GM Calvin Booth — who interviewed for the job when it went to Rosas — and Hawks assistant GM Landry Fields, in addition to Gupta.

In the immediate future, Chris Finch will still be the coach going forward, as he and Gupta have a good relationship. The Wolves have been involved in the 76ers' drawn-out process of trading guard Ben Simmons, which could linger into the season. Reports over the last month have said Simmons will not report to camp and does not intend to play for Philadelphia again, but Sixers President Daryl Morey can be a stickler in negotiations and isn't afraid of an uncomfortable situation.

The good news for Wolves fans who might want Simmons is that Gupta has good relationships with Morey, the former GM in Houston, and others in Philadelphia from his time working for both the Rockets and 76ers. Gupta had a hand in executing a four-team trade involving the Wolves and Morey's Rockets two seasons ago. So Rosas' ouster and the elevation of Gupta shouldn't derail any talks that were ongoing between the two teams.

This week marked another turbulent chapter in the rocky history of the Wolves, and it offered a glimpse of what the future might be like under new ownership. Lore pledged to take a deep look at how the Wolves do business, and it didn't take long for him, Taylor and Rodriguez to decide change had to happen now.

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