Gersson Rosas

D’Angelo Russell May Be Option In Knicks’ Point Guard Search

If the Knicks can’t get their preferred choices at point guard, the TimberwolvesD’Angelo Russell could become an option this summer, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

New York has a strong connection to Russell in Gersson Rosas, who was recently named senior basketball advisor after spending time with the organization as a consultant. Fischer notes that when Rosas was president of basketball operations in Minnesota, he traded Andrew Wiggins and a lottery pick to the Warriors for Russell in 2020 after missing out on him in free agency.

Russell, who has a $31.4MM expiring contract next season, took some heat after a disappointing performance in the Wolves’ brief playoff run. The emergence of other backcourt options in Minnesota might make him expendable as the team looks to the future.

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell remains the Knicks’ dream choice, but getting him appears unlikely even if Utah decides to shake up its roster, Fischer writes. He cites “healthy skepticism” around the league that New York can make the best offer for Mitchell, noting that Miami could potentially put together a deal centered around Tyler Herro and multiple first-round picks.

The Knicks have also been linked to Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, who is headed toward free agency, but Fischer hears there’s a “growing sense” around the league that Brunson will remain in Dallas. Fischer expects Brunson’s new contract to top $20MM per season and says John Collins‘ five-year, $125MM extension could be a good comparison.

New York can only offer four years to Brunson and would need to clear out significant cap space first. Sources tell Fischer that the Knicks unsuccessfully tried to move Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel ahead of the trade deadline to begin opening cap room. Fischer cites league executives who believe New York would have to include either the No. 11 pick in this year’s draft or Immanuel Quickley in any deal to unload salary.

Fischer adds that one factor working in the Knicks’ favor in their pursuit of Brunson is that they can offer him the chance to be the undisputed leader of the offense, which he won’t have in Dallas playing alongside Luka Doncic. Fischer notes that if Brunson signs with the Pistons, who are also reported to be interested, he would be in the same situation with Cade Cunningham.

Sources also tell Fischer that New York won’t be among the teams pursuing Cavaliers free agent guard Collin Sexton. Cleveland is interested in keeping him, but it could be difficult considering the team’s salary commitment to other players. Fischer hears that the Pacers, Pistons and Wizards will all be in the market for Sexton.

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Rosas, Jokubaitis, Ainge

In a recent interview with Michael Grady of YES Network (video link), Nets team president Sean Marks once again defended embattled Brooklyn guard Ben Simmons. Simmons, who missed the entire 2021/22 season due to mental health issues and a herniated disc in his lower back, had reportedly aimed to return in the first round of the playoffs, but experienced a setback.

“It’s a little bit of a testament that one, he tried to get back out there and tried to help his teammates and secondly, we have to be careful not judge people,” Marks said. “And if you’re outside that medical profession, when you’re chiming in from afar, you just have to be a bit careful of what you’re saying because you really don’t know.”

Simmons opted to treat the back injury with surgery after the Nets were officially eliminated in a 4-0 first-round sweep by the Celtics.

“Nobody wants to have surgery,” Marks said. “It’s the last resort but it’s bygone now and we’ve got to move forward on this, we’ve got to support him and so forth.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Former Timberwolves team president Gersson Rosas has an official title with the Knicks, having been named a senior basketball advisor, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Rosas was let go from Minnesota under murky circumstances and later joined the Knicks as a consultant. Begley notes that determining where Rosas slots in among the Knicks’ front office pecking order will be important during a critical 2022 offseason for New York.
  • The Knicks are considering leaving 2021 draft-and-stash second-round pick Rokas Jokubaitis, currently playing for Barcelona in the EuroLeague Final Four, overseas to develop for another year, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman opines that New York could have more flexibility to sign the point guard prospect in 2023, after several short-term Knicks contracts come off the books. Jokubaitis averaged 7.2 PPG and 2.8 APG across 17 MPG in 35 EuroLeague contests this season.
  • Former Celtics team president Danny Ainge, now in the Jazz front office, has enjoyed seeing the progress of his old team, writes Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. The Celtics are now trailing the Heat 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals. “I’ve been proud of this team all year,” Ainge said. “I really liked watching guys develop when I was there, and it’s been great watching guys like Jayson [Tatum] and Jaylen [Brown] and Marcus [Smart] and Rob [Williams] and all of them take another step this year. They just beat a great team, the defending champs.” Ainge drafted Tatum, Brown, Smart and Williams during his Celtics front office run.

Knicks Notes: DeRozan, Rose, Starters, Offseason, Rosas

A source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that DeMar DeRozan would have signed with the Knicks instead of the Bulls last summer if New York had matched Chicago’s contract offer. The Bulls inked DeRozan to a three-year, $81.9MM deal via sign-and-trade.

DeRozan’s top choice was the Lakers, but the team never made him a formal offer, the source tells Berman. Nor did the Knicks.

GM Scott Perry was interested in DeRozan, but president Leon Rose and executive VP William Wesley were sold on Evan Fournier. Perry believed that signing DeRozan could have led to Damian Lillard down the line, as the two stars are close friends, Berman relays. Obviously, the Knicks ultimately acquired Fournier.

Here’s more from New York:

  • The return of Derrick Rose could provide a needed boost to the struggling Knicks, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “When you look at Derrick when he’s on the floor and you look at the plus-minus of the players, he impacts it in a very positive way,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And he’s always been that way. Because he gives you the transition game, he gives you the pick-and-roll game, he can play on the ball, he can play off the ball, so it adds a lot to our team.”
  • In Zach Lowe’s latest ’10 things’ column for ESPN (Insider link), he writes that New York’s starting unit has been a disaster all season, and has been outscored by 14 points per 100 possessions, one of the worst marks in the league. He points to Kemba Walker, Fournier, and Julius Randle as the weak links on defense, with Randle’s regression from last season being especially disappointing. Lowe says to “expect everything to be on the table for the Knicks in the summer.”
  • In a separate article for The New York Post, Berman explores what the hiring of Gersson Rosas means for the Knicks’ front office. Rosas has multiple ties to the organization, Berman notes, as he shares the same agent as Thibodeau from Creative Artists Agency. Rose was a longtime agent at CAA prior to becoming the Knicks’ president. Rosas and Thibodeau also worked together for several years in Houston.

Knicks Expected To Hire Gersson Rosas As Consultant

The Knicks are expected to hire former Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas as a consultant, Marc Stein reports in a Substack story.

Minnesota unexpectedly fired Rosas right before the start of the 2021 preseason, reportedly due in part to concerns about his consensual relationship with a staff member, as well as his deteriorating partnership with Sachin Gupta, who replaced him as the club’s head of basketball operations.

According to Stein, Rosas is close with Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets that Rosas also has a long history with CAA, the player agency Rose worked for before he joined the Knicks.

Rosas, who was a top lieutenant in the Rockets’ front office before he was hired by Minnesota in 2019, was spotted at Tuesday’s game between the Nuggets and Knicks chatting before the game with other executives, notes Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link).

Wolves Notes: Gupta, Finch, Durisic, Ehambe, Outlook

Just hours before word broke that the Timberwolves had fired head of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, team executive Sachin Gupta was meeting with Rosas to smooth things over in advance of the upcoming season, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

As has been previously reported, Gupta explored leaving the organization this summer when he received a job offer from the Rockets. He was blocked by Rosas from accepting that opportunity, since it technically would’ve been a lateral move based on his title, though Krawczynski suggests that it would have come with a “substantial” pay raise. That situation was said to have considerably strained the relationship between the two executives, but Gupta is diplomatic now when he discusses it.

“Those types of things happen around the league,” Gupta said. “I was just focused on doing the best that I could for everyone here in this building and for the team. I’m excited about the decisions that we were all able to make together. Really excited about where we’re at now and about moving forward.”

As Krawczysnki details, after meeting with Rosas to bury the hatchet, Gupta was summoned to meet later in the day with team owner Glen Taylor, who gave him control of the Wolves’ front office following Rosas’ dismissal.

“I’ll be honest, it was definitely a whirlwind that first day,” Gupta told Krawczysnki. “But now that we’re in camp and everyone’s ready to go, definitely everyone’s moved past what’s happened and is really focused on our goals for this year. There’s a lot of good energy in the building and a lot of excitement.”

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • Gupta is close with Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch, who says the two franchise leaders talk twice a day and are “leaning on each other a lot right now,” per Krawczynski. “I think we’re completely aligned, not just in terms of basketball philosophy, but in terms of our values and the kind of culture we want to build here,” Gupta said.
  • Zarko Durisic, a popular longtime Timberwolves scout who was let go by Rosas, is back with the team, according to Krawczynski (Twitter link). Durisic will have the same title (senior player personnel scout) and duties as he did before, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.
  • After spending last season on Nate Bjorkgren‘s staff in Indiana, Moses Ehambe has joined the Timberwolves as the team’s director of player programs, a league source tells Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link).
  • While the Timberwolves are close to the tax line and likely won’t take on any extra salary this season, they have more flexibility going forward, opening the door for them to swap expiring deals for multiyear contracts, John Hollinger of The Athletic writes in his season preview. Hollinger likes some of the Wolves’ talent, but thinks they need another reliable forward or two and projects them to finish 12th in the West with a 36-46 record.

Timberwolves Notes: Rosas, Gupta, Finch, Simmons, Towns

The impending ownership change played a role in the surprising dismissal of Gersson Rosas as the Timberwolves‘ president of basketball operations, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

Minority partners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, who will eventually take over for Glen Taylor, are doing a full investigation into the franchise and discovered “disenchantment” among front office employees, sources tell Krawczynski. Considering the team’s poor record with Rosas in charge, Lore and Rodriguez determined that he would eventually need to be replaced, and that decision was sped up with the discovery that Rosas was having a “consensual intimate relationship” with another member of the organization.

Sachin Gupta, who was chosen to replace Rosas, has strong relationships with the new ownership group and will be given a chance to win the job on a more permanent basis, according to Krawczynski’s sources. He has full power to make decisions on trades and other personnel moves, but will be watched closely to make sure the owners are happy with the direction of the franchise. The Wolves are seeking stability and don’t appear to be searching outside the organization for someone else to take over.

Gupta is a strong supporter of coach Chris Finch, whose job will be safe despite the loss of Rosas, who hired him in February. Finch has “nearly universal approval” throughout the organization, along with the trust of the players. However, he may need a successful season to keep his job if a new lead executive is eventually hired.

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • The front office shakeup won’t affect the Wolves’ chances of trading for Ben Simmons, Krawczynski adds in the same piece. Gupta was involved in the team’s negotiations with Philadelphia, according to sources, and like Rosas, he worked with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey in Houston. Minnesota’s main obstacles to landing Simmons are a lack of assets that appeal to Philadelphia and the difficulty of finding a third team to facilitate a deal.
  • Acquiring Simmons may be the only way to keep Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota for the long term, suggests Michael Rand of The Star-Tribune. The Wolves seem likely to miss the playoffs again with their current roster, which increases the chances that Towns will ask for a trade next summer when he will have just two years left on his contract.
  • The bad decisions made by Rosas show the importance of finding the right person to run the team, states John Hollinger of The Athletic. Hollinger notes that the Wolves have a history of front office failure, which is why they have just one playoff appearance over the past 17 years.

Details On Timberwolves’ Dismissal Of Gersson Rosas

The Timberwolves‘ dismissal of president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas was made for “performance reasons,” a high-ranking team source told Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic. The team’s lack of success during Rosas’ tenure was a key factor in the decision, and complaints from staffers about Rosas’ leadership also played a part, per The Athletic’s duo.

However, another issue that factored into the timing of the move was the fact that the Wolves recently learned that Rosas – who is married – had a “consensual intimate relationship” with a member of the organization, according to Krawczysnki and Charania, who suggest that the relationship made several people within the franchise uncomfortable.

The Athletic’s deep dive into the situation in Minnesota’s front office uncovered sources who said Rosas worked his staffers long hours without giving them much input into personnel decisions. Some members of the front office took issue with those decisions, such as the one to include such light protections (top-three) on the first-round pick the Wolves sent Golden State in the D’Angelo Russell trade.

Rosas did have backers within the organization, including some who reached out to The Athletic in recent weeks to defend the way things were going, per Krawczynski and Charania. Some of Rosas’ defenders believe the pandemic and the change of ownership were factors that contributed to tension in the front office, while Rosas himself “vehemently disputed” that there were any significant problems with the team’s culture.

Still, many of The Athletic’s sources described Rosas’ tenure as dysfunctional, and when those complaints reached ownership, Glen Taylor, Alex Rodriguez, and Marc Lore decided the situation was untenable and a move needed to be made sooner rather than later.

“It’s hard,” said one staffer who followed Rosas to Minnesota after he was hired in 2019. “He’s not who I thought he was.”

The report from Krawczynski and Charania is worth checking out in full if you’re an Athletic subscriber. Here are some of the other highlights:

  • New interim head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta is well-regarded by team officials and is expected to get a chance to earn the permanent job, sources tell The Athletic. However, Krawczynski and Charania note that Gupta did “butt heads” with Rosas this summer when Gupta sought to make a lateral move to the Rockets for a similar job with higher pay, and Rosas blocked him. Rosas defended the decision by saying that the move wouldn’t have been a promotion, and it was too close to the draft and free agency to let a top executive with so much knowledge of Minnesota’s plans leave to join a rival. According to The Athletic, Rosas “banished” Gupta from the team’s offices in August and allowed him to seek employment elsewhere at that point, but Gupta decided to stay with the Wolves after ownership got involved.
  • Some player agents had issues with Rosas’ negotiating tactics, according to Krawczynski and Charania, who point to the team’s recent contract talks with Jordan McLaughlin as one example. A source tells The Athletic that Rosas reneged on promises about the role McLaughlin would have going forward after Patrick Beverley was acquired. Although agents recognized Rosas’ primary allegiance was to the organization, they expected better treatment in certain scenarios, according to The Athletic’s duo. “Rosas was the cause of mishaps and pulled his promises,” the source said of the McLaughlin negotiations.
  • Rosas’ decision to replace head coach Ryan Saunders with Chris Finch during the season without considering any other candidates – including minority candidates – wasn’t popular with some staffers, and neither was the decision to part with veteran scout Zarko Durisic last year, per Krawczysnki and Charania. Some people believed those moves flew in the face of Rosas’ portrayal of the organization as a “family.”
  • Krawczynski and Charania say Rosas was “working feverishly” this offseason to try to acquire Ben Simmons, who was viewed by some people in the organization as the roster’s missing piece. It’s unclear if Gupta will have the same level of interest in the Sixers star.
  • A report from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report confirms and adds some details to many of the issues reported by The Athletic, including the recent discovery of Rosas’ “consensual extramarital affair” with a team staffer.

Wolves Part Ways With President Of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas

The Timberwolves are parting ways with president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, sources tell Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the news, issuing the following statement:

“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 had only run the Timberwolves’ basketball operations department for two years, having been hired by the franchise in May of 2019 after a lengthy stint in the Rockets’ front office. He overhauled the roster after taking the reins — Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie are the only two holdover players from the previous regime.

While he has certainly been active, Rosas hasn’t necessarily taken the Timberwolves any closer to legitimate contention in the last two years. His major moves – including trading up for Jarrett Culver in the 2019 draft and sending Andrew Wiggins and a first-round pick to Golden State for D’Angelo Russell – have been a mixed bag, at best. The club had a record of just 42-94 (.309) during Rosas’ tenure and isn’t viewed by professional oddsmakers as a probable playoff team for 2021/22.

Despite some questionable personnel decisions, the timing of Rosas’ dismissal is still surprising. Typically, a team replacing its head of basketball operations will do so at the end of the season, before the draft and free agency take place. The Wolves are making a change less than a week before training camp begins, after Rosas completed many of the team’s offseason roster moves – including trading for Patrick Beverley and re-signing Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin – in the last few weeks.

A tweet from star big man Karl-Anthony Towns likely summed up what many Wolves fans are feeling. Towns’ message simply reads, “Wtf…”

Of course, it’s worth noting that the Wolves are in the midst of an ownership change, with Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore buying the franchise from longtime owner Glen Taylor. New ownership groups often prefer to make their own front office hires rather than sticking with the incumbent executives.

However, Rodriguez and Lore don’t have majority control of the organization yet, having agreed to a succession plan that won’t see them fully take over until 2023. They’ll have a voice in major decisions over the next two years, but the statement announcing Rosas’ dismissal today was attributed to Taylor.

We should get more details soon on why the Wolves would make such a major change now and what their plan is to replace Rosas. For the time being, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggests (via Twitter) that Sixers GM Elton Brand is a name worth watching, since Rodriguez and Lore are believed to be high on Brand.

Speaking of Philadelphia, we’ll also be keeping a close eye on how this move affects Minnesota’s rumored pursuit in Ben Simmons. The Wolves have been viewed for much of the offseason as one of the teams most interested in Simmons — it’s unclear how Rosas’ departure may impact the club’s level of interest in the 76ers star.

Wolves Notes: Beverley Trade, Free Agency, Beasley

In his latest piece for The Athletic, Jon Krawczynski writes that for the Timberwolves, trading Juan Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver was not just about adding a veteran defender and shooter in Patrick Beverley, but also about dealing two players who were looking for a change of scenery to get their careers back on track.

According to Krawczynski, Culver grew disenfranchised with the Wolves as he fell further and further out of the rotation in 2020/21, which caused him at times to seem to lose all confidence in himself. Hernangomez wanted out from the team that barred his participation in the Olympics due to a shoulder injury that Spanish doctors had cleared him from, and even went so far as to reach out to team owner Glen Taylor to attempt to circumvent the decision of president Gersson Rosas.

Krawczynski adds that Rosas has a relationship with Beverley going back to his time in with the Rockets, the team that originally brought the defensive-minded point guard over from Europe and got his NBA career on track.

We have more Timberwolves news:

  • Krawczysnki suggests that adding a little extra money in the Beverley deal will further complicate the Wolves’ efforts to sign restricted free agents Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin to multiyear deals. He expects Vanderbilt to receive a multiyear contract, while the team uses te minimum salary exception to add another point guard, either McLaughlin or someone else.
  • Trading Culver is a concession by Rosas that the first draft pick of his tenure, a pick he traded Dario Saric and the 11th pick to acquire, was a failure, writes Michael Rand of The Star Tribune. The idea, Rand writes, was for Culver to provide a similar skill-set Beverley will now be counted on for: to play hard-nosed defense and knock down threes. Rand adds that, on his expiring salary, Beverley could be a good trade chip if the team is underperforming at the trade deadline.
  • Darren Wolfson of SKOR North tweets that he’s been told Beverley is “very happy” with the trade to the Wolves. Beverley, no stranger to fighting for his place in the league, has had a tumultuous couple days, and while no longer on a championship contender, he has a chance to play a vital role for an up-and-coming team.
  • Malik Beasley has been released from jail after serving 78 days for pleading guilty to threats of violence, writes Jeff Day of The Star Tribune. Beasley was sentenced to 120 days, and was released after 78 for good behavior. If he completes his three years of probation, the charge will be dropped from felony to misdemeanor.

Northwest Notes: Billups, Hyland, Rosas, Jazz

New Trail Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups wants to bring a commitment to defense to Portland, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. As an assistant with the Clippers last season, Billups was aware of the Blazers’ poor defensive reputation, and L.A. averaged 124.7 PPG against them in three games. A former defensive standout as a player, Billups envisions a team more in his image.

“To go to the next level, and be more competitive, and be more consistent, we got to be so much better defensively,” he said. “I know that. It’s not going to be optional to play hard defensively.”

Portland will continue to use a three-guard lineup, Fentress adds, as 6’3″ Norman Powell will keep the starting role he was given after being acquired from the Raptors at the trade deadline. After the deal, the Blazers’ starting lineup ranked fourth in the league in net rating at plus 13.3.

“I think in today’s game, you can play that way,” Billups said. “But to me, if you’re going to win that way, all three of those guys have to be committed on the defensive end of the floor. That can be an issue. It’s already been an issue.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rookie guard Bones Hyland looks like he may be the Nuggets‘ latest draft steal, observes Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. Hyland showed off his full range of moves in a 28-point Summer League performance on Saturday. “When the bright lights come on, I never shy away from them,” Hyland said. “That’s been me my whole life. I make things happen when the lights are on. The bigger the stage, the bigger I play.”
  • President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said the Timberwolves are focused on “internal development” rather than trying to make a splash in free agency, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Minnesota hasn’t signed any free agents except for two-way deals, and Rosas suggests that any significant additions will come through trades. “You’re very strategic in addressing needs, but we don’t want to overpay for the sake of overpaying unless it makes sense for us,” he said. “We feel like the trade market is a little more efficient in that regard and we’ve invested a lot in our own players. We want to give those guys opportunities to take advantage of those roles.”
  • The Summer League emphasis is on developing young talent and finding players for the upcoming season, but the Jazz are also focused on winning a title after a 3-0 start, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News“I don’t think development and winning are mutually exclusive,” coach Bryan Bailey said. “They can go together. Part of the development is learning how to win. You want to see things, want guys to work on things. But it’s all together, it’s all intertwined.”