Sport Report: Front-office dysfunction, alleged affair with staffer preceded Gersson Rosas' Timberwolves dismissal

08:25  23 september  2021
08:25  23 september  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

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The Minnesota Timberwolves abruptly fired Gersson Rosas on Wednesday, ending his tenure as president of basketball operations after just 28 months. Rosas , who became the first Latino to lead an NBA front office when he was hired in May 2019, had been tasked with leading a rebuilding effort in the wake of Tom Thibodeau’s departure. Despite major roster changes, an influx of young talent and a bold trade for D’Angelo Russell in 2020, Minnesota showed little progress, finishing near the bottom of the Western Conference in each of the past two seasons.

The Wednesday dismissal of Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas days before training camp caught the NBA by surprise.

A report from The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania Wednesday evening sheds light on the decision.

Per the report, Rosas faced internal accusations of running a dysfunctional front office that was filled with tension and described as "not sustainable" by sources. Rosas also faced internal criticism over personnel decisions and how he managed them, according to the report. The complaints reached as high as team owner Glen Taylor and incoming minority team owners Marc Lore and former MLB All-Star Alex Rodriguez, who are slated to take over controlling team ownership in the coming years.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves hired Houston Rockets executive Gersson Rosas as president of basketball operations on Wednesday, league sources told ESPN. Rosas , a native of Bogota, Colombia, will become the NBA’s first Latino top basketball executive. Rosas replaces Tom Thibodeau in the Timberwolves ’ top decision-making position. Rosas , who worked 18 seasons with the Rockets, had a brief stint in 2013 as GM of the Mavericks before returning to Houston. Rosas also works for USA Basketball in a player personnel role. Daryl Morey, Rosas ’ old boss in Houston, knew it was only a

Gersson Rosas has been dismissed as the Minnesota Timberwolves ' president of basketball operations, the team announced. In a statement announcing the move Wednesday, team owner Glen Taylor said the Wolves "remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of." Minnesota hired Rosas , a former Houston Rockets executive, in May 2019, making him the highest-ranking Latino in a front - office position.

Those concerns simmered for much of Rosas' two-plus-year tenure in Minnesota, per the report. When news surfaced internally that Rosas was allegedly having an extramarital affair with a team staffer, team ownership felt added urgency to cut ties him, according to the report.

The alleged affair wasn't the reason for Rosas' dismissal, according to the report. But it played a role in why he was fired just days before the start of training camp and in the midst of a team effort to acquire disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons.

"This decision was made for performance reasons,” a Timberwolves source the report describes as "high-ranking" said.

The Timberwolves abruptly fired Gersson Rosas on Wednesday. (David Berding/Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports The Timberwolves abruptly fired Gersson Rosas on Wednesday. (David Berding/Getty Images)

Report: Long hours, low input

Sources told The Athletic that Rosas expected front-office staff to work long hours without having any input in the decision-making process. “He’s not who I thought he was," a staffer who followed Rosas from the Houston Rockets to Minnesota told The Athletic.

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The Timberwolves ' Gersson Rosas , who is the NBA's only Latino president of basketball operations, hopes the push for changing social injustice can also help diversity in front offices in professional sports. "It's something that's near and dear to my heart. The opportunity to have equal opportunity for individuals is critical to not only representation sake but also for success. Our game of basketball is not an American game, it's an international game, a global game," Rosas told reporters during Wednesday's end-of-season Zoom media availability.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston Rockets executive Gersson Rosas has withdrawn as a candidate from the Detroit Pistons GM/senior basketball leadership search, league sources tell ESPN. Sources told ESPN that the Rockets believe every aspect of the organization -- coaching staff, front office and, of course, their roster -- must be subject to a thorough review in the wake of Houston's slide to a 38-41 outfit that's at serious risk to miss the playoffs after damaging losses this week to Dallas and Phoenix.

A protégé of Daryl Morey who spent 16 seasons the Rockets' front office, Rosas joined the Timberwolves from Houston in 2019.

The report also cites multiple Rosas "backers" in the organization who described a work environment where people could speak freely. They cited internal tension to stressors brought on by the COVID-19 work environment that has seen few breaks in the NBA schedule since the league resumed play after the onset of the pandemic.

Neither Rosas nor Taylor responded to The Athletic's report as of Wednesday evening.

Report: D'Angelo Russell trade rankled some in front office

As for the personnel criticism in the report, some on staff weren't happy with the parameters of the trade to acquire D'Angelo Russell from the Warriors, which came with light protections on first-round picks sent to Golden State.

Tensions also rose after Rosas blocked executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta from making a lateral move to the Rockets with higher pay, according to the report. Rosas didn't want to see Gupta join a rival ahead of the draft and free agency armed with proprietary information, according to the report.

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Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is hoping to see more diversity in front offices across the NBA. The 42-year-old explained his perspective to reporters Wednesday: "It's something that's near and dear to my heart. Rosas is the only Latino team president in the NBA, but he is hoping to see an increase in minorities in these positions. "I'm very blessed and humbled by the opportunity that I've been given, but I shouldn't be the only one, and I've got to do my part to provide those opportunities and to open those doors and to help others," he added.

Rosas , 35, had spent nine successful years working his way to the top of Houston's front office before accepting the GM job with the Mavericks in July. [Also: Suns' surprising season began with change in philosophy ]. Rosas will share the executive VP title with Gianluca Pascucci and share in the oversight of the Rockets' player personnel and scouting. After a high school and college coaching career, Rosas joined the Rockets as a video coordinator and worked his way up through the scouting ranks.

That tension lingered until team ownership convinced Gupta to stay in Minnesota. The Timberwolves reportedly promoted Gupta to Rosas' old role in the interim with a chance to remain the team's top executive on a permanent basis.

Members of the staff were also unhappy with how former head coach Ryan Saunders was fired last season and with the dismissal of longtime scout Zarko Durisic, per the report. Some player agents were also critical of Rosas in the report, with one declaring that Rosas "pulled his promises."

The Timberwolves posted records of 19-45 (2019-20) and 23-49 (2020-21) since hiring Rosas. He oversaw the 2019 and 2020 drafts that had the Timberwolves acquire first-round picks Jarrett Culver and Anthony Edwards, who was selected first overall in 2020 and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball.

The Timberwolves traded both of their 2021 draft picks to the Warriors in the Russell trade. The first-round pick translated to the No. 7 selection, which the Golden State used to pick G League forward Jonathan Kuminga.

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