The perennial upheaval that has been a hallmark of the Timberwolves franchise struck again Wednesday, as the team fired President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas in a terse statement from owner Glen Taylor just a few days before training camp begins.
"Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas," the statement said. "As an organization, we remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of."
Sachin Gupta will assume day to day operations on the basketball side while keeping his title as executive vice president of basketball operations. The team will hold a search for a permanent replacement for Rosas.
"We are committed to staying aligned to achieve our short-term goals and reach our long-term vision," Taylor said in a statement.
Even though the statements came from Taylor, sources said Taylor made the call in conjunction with new owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, who are on a path to become controlling owners in 2023.
Throughout the past few months there has been a growing discord and strained relationships among Rosas, the front office and the rest of the organization, sources said. The Wolves decided to make change in leadership now before training camp opens next week instead of having that linger into the season, sources said.
Other parts of the organization got a sense for how the culture on the basketball side was deteriorating at Summer League in Las Vegas last month and that continued over the last few weeks, sources said. Rosas' attitude toward staff and ways of conducting business contributed to the morose atmosphere around the organization, sources said.
The move, however, took many by surprise, including Karl-Anthony Towns, who tweeted a statement to that effect on Twitter.
Rosas was president of basketball operations for a little over two years and during his tenure made several trades that reshaped the roster from the day he took over. Among his notable moves were trading for D'Angelo Russell from Golden State for Andrew Wiggins and a first-round pick and drafting Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 pick in 2020. He remade the roster during his first season, keeping only Josh Okogie and Karl-Anthony Towns from the roster he inherited.
A multi-team trade that involved Robert Covington netted the Wolves Malik Beasley and a first-round pick that eventually, through other trades, became Jaden McDaniels and Leandro Bolmaro, who recently signed.
Rosas traded his first draft pick Jarrett Culver to Memphis this offseason after Culver didn't click in Minnesota. His second draft class included Edwards, who finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, and McDaniels, a promising young player who was starting by the end of the season thanks to his defensive prowess.
After hiring Ryan Saunders to be permanent head coach, Rosas fired Saunders in February during his second full season as coach and hired Chris Finch, who was then the associate head coach of the Raptors. Finch remains the coach.
When Rosas arrived in Minnesota he preached wanting to build a positive, team-friendly culture. Behind the scenes, however, there was tension the kept building through the last few months, sources said.
The Wolves were set to open camp Monday and have long been rumored to desire 76ers guard Ben Simmons. It's unclear how Rosas' dismissal will affect that.
The day-to-day operations turn to Gupta, who joined the Wolves with Rosas as his No. 2 in 2019 from the Detroit Pistons, where he was an assistant GM. He had worked with Rosas when both were with the Houston Rockets, and also spent time in the 76ers organization. He has a strong analytics background (he went to MIT and Stanford) and was one of the designers of ESPN's popular trade machine.
He will be the first person of Indian descent to run an NBA team. Gupta was a finalist for the Kings opening that went to Monte McNair prior to last season.
Other names that could surface as candidates in the search for a new president include 76ers General Manager Elton Brand and Nuggets General Manager Calvin Booth, who interviewed for the job when Rosas got it.