Sachin Gupta

Timberwolves Notes: Beasley, Hernangomez, Towns, Gupta

Even though he’ll be a restricted free agent when the offseason arrives, Malik Beasley opted to attend the Timberwolves‘ in-market camp, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Beaskey may be risking an injury that could affect his value, but he wanted to get back on the court after six months away from organized basketball, and his decision was noticed by management.

“I’m smiling and giggling,” said president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas. “Coach (Ryan Saunders) can speak to it, that’s what I love about our group. We’ve got workers. Coach and I were sitting in a meeting before this, and Beasley calls to say how much he wants to play and be here throughout it.”

Beasley, 23, is positioned for a nice raise after making an impact in 14 games since being acquired from Denver at the trade deadline. He became a starter in Minnesota and averaged 20.7 PPG while shooting 42.6% from 3-point range. The Wolves have interest in re-signing him, and his appearance seems to be an expression of loyalty.

There’s more from camp, all courtesy of Krawczynski:

  • The only notable player missing is restricted free agent Juan Hernangomez, who is filming a movie with Adam Sandler. Krawczynski notes that the acting commitment was made before the NBA finalized plans for the teams that didn’t go to Orlando.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell have emerged as leaders during camp and are trying to set an example for their teammates. “D’Angelo worked out this morning at 7 a.m. Karl’s been the 6 a.m. guy in the gym,” Saunders said. “It’s good to get out there. Even though you can only do it with one player, one coach, it’s been nice for me to be able to get not hands-on, but hands-on at a safe social distance and focus on things that we feel these guys need to work on and know they need to work on to take not just their games to the next level, but take this team to the next level.” Rosas said Towns has fully recovered from a wrist injury that sidelined him for a month before the hiatus.
  • Executive vice president Sachin Gupta will remain with Minnesota after being one of the finalists for the Kings’ GM job. Gupta seemed to be the favorite earlier this week and the Wolves were preparing for him to leave, but Sacramento opted for Monte McNair instead.

Kings Rumors: McNair, Fox, Bogdanovic, Giles, More

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has long admired Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, so hiring away one of Morey’s top lieutenants – assistant GM Monte McNair – filled a “certain fixation” for Ranadive, according to Jason Jones and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

There had been a growing sense around the NBA that the Kings would pick Timberwolves executive Sachin Gupta to run their front office – Minnesota was preparing to have to replace Gupta, sources tell The Athletic – but the final selection of McNair was driven by Ranadive.

McNair’s first interview with Sacramento took place over video conference, with Ranadive and consultant Mike Forde running the meeting. The second interview occurred in person on Monday, with Joe Dumars and Ranadive’s son Aneel taking part in that session, according to The Athletic. Aneel Ranadive, a member of the Kings’ executive board, was “very involved in the process,” Jones and Amick report.

Although McNair ultimately beat out fellow finalists Gupta and Wes Wilcox, both Gupta and Wilcox made strong impressions on the franchise too. One source described Wilcox as a “sharp interview,” per The Athletic.

Here’s more on the Kings in the wake of their major front office hire:

  • Former general manager Vlade Divac believed the Kings were on the verge of becoming a playoff team, but that sentiment wasn’t shared by everyone around the league, say Jones and Amick. As such, it’s possible McNair won’t hesitate to break up the core of a roster that hasn’t yet produced a winning season.
  • According to The Athletic, Divac had been expected to offer De’Aaron Fox a maximum-salary rookie scale extension, re-sign restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic – even if meant paying $18MM-ish per year – and attempt to retain free agent big man Harry Giles despite previously turning down his team option for 2020/21. It remains to be seen whether McNair will follow a similar playbook in his first offseason with the organization.
  • The Kings have long faced criticism for not having a well-staffed front office, according to Jones and Amick, who say that McNair is expected to make more hires within the basketball operations department. Assistant GM Ken Catanella will also likely remain in his current position.

And-Ones: Gupta, Bubble, Webb, Agents, Draft

The Timberwolves have long believed that their executive VP Sachin Gupta is a strong candidate for the Kings‘ top front office position and have supported him as he explores the opportunity, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, who says president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has “spoken glowingly” to Sacramento about Gupta.

As the Kings narrow their search, Gupta appears to be gaining some momentum and is said to be one of three finalists for Sacramento’s top job. With that in mind, Krawczynski weighs some pros and cons for Gupta to consider if he’s offered the job. While the opportunity to run a front office doesn’t come along often, Krawczynski notes that the Kings haven’t been the league’s most stable franchise over the last 15 years, adding that Gupta is thriving so far in his role with the Timberwolves as Rosas’ right-hand man.

As we wait to see whether Gupta is offered Sacramento’s top front office job – and whether he accepts it – let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…

  • The two teams that advance to the NBA Finals will be permitted to bring three additional staff members, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets that those two clubs will also be allowed to bring 12 more guests of staffers into the Walt Disney World bubble.
  • Former NBA forward James Webb III has joined KAE Larisa in Greece for the coming season, the team announced on Instagram (hat tip to Sportando). A former Boise State standout, Webb appeared in 10 games for Brooklyn in 2017/18 and has also spent time under contract with Philadelphia.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at how agents and rookie recruiting have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has largely limited the ability of player reps to meet face-to-face with the prospects they’re looking to sign.
  • Jeremy Woo of SI.com has updated his big board for the 2020 NBA draft, with Anthony Edwards leading the way. Edwards’ case for the No. 1 spot centers on the likelihood that he’ll be able to eventually “anchor a team’s offense,” Woo writes.

Latest On Kings’ Front Office Search

As expected, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth has withdrawn from the Kings‘ search for a new head of basketball operations, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Following a weekend report that Booth would remove his name from consideration, word broke on Sunday that he had met with Sacramento after all, but his level of interest in the position was unclear and he didn’t move on to the second round of interviews.

With Booth – along with Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon and Heat assistant GM Adam Simon – out of the running, Sacramento is expected to make a hire from a group of finalists that includes Timberwolves executive VP Sachin Gupta, Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair, and former Hawks executive Wes Wilcox, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that a decision may be finalized this week.

As Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes, Gupta, McNair, and Wilcox advanced to the second round of interviews with the Kings this week. It’s unclear exactly which Kings executives are participating in those interviews — Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Sunday that interim head of basketball operations Joe Dumars isn’t taking part, but Carmichael Dave of KHTK hears that Dumars is, in fact, sitting in on the in-person meetings.

It’s also not clear whether there’s a frontrunner in the process. Dave hears that there’s “strong movement” in Sacramento toward hiring Gupta as head of basketball operations, with McNair coming aboard as his top lieutenant. However, a source tells James Ham of NBC Sports California that the Kings haven’t made any final decisions yet.

Ham adds that whoever Sacramento ultimately hires will have the option of hiring another executive to “help fill the gaps in the front office.” While that person could be McNair, the decision will be up to whoever lands the top job, says Ham.

On one key point, all reporters appear to be in agreement — the Kings’ new hire will gain full control of basketball decisions and will report directly to team owner Vivek Ranadive.

Western Notes: Kings, Atkinson, Pelicans, Thunder

Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon reportedly informed the Kings on Wednesday that he will not be involved in their search for a new head of basketball operations.

With Langdon pulling his name out of the Kings’ search, that leaves Sachin Gupta, Adam Simon, Calvin Booth, Monte McNair, and Wes Wilcox as potential replacements for Vlade Divac. Jason Jones of The Athletic looks at each candidate’s resume, exploring why they would make sense for Sacramento.

As Jones points out, the Kings head into the offseason with four picks in the 2020 NBA draft, including the 12th overall selection, but do not have a lot of cap space. Therefore, whoever Sacramento chooses will have a tall task ahead of them to break the team’s 14-year playoff drought.

Here’s more from across the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans are one of the many teams looking for a brand new head coach after firing Alvin Gentry. One potential candidate who could be of interest to New Orleans is former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, according to William Guillory of The Athletic, who evaluates Atkinson’s fit in New Orleans. As Guillory details, Atkinson has a relationship with Langdon, who was the Nets’ assistant general manager, and could help further the development of New Orleans’ young roster like he did with Brooklyn.
  • After just missing out on the playoffs, the Pelicans hold the 13th overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft. But unlike the other teams in the lottery, New Orleans does not necessarily need its first-round pick and could use it to acquire veteran players. William Guillory of The Athletic draws up three trades that the Pelicans could execute to upgrade their roster. One trade Guillory created has the Nets giving up Taurean Prince and their 2020 first-rounder for Darius Miller, Nicolo Melli, and the No. 13 pick.
  • The Thunder will be looking for a new head coach after parting ways with Billy Donovan on Tuesday. Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman takes a deep dive into potential replacements, listing 50 possible candidates for OKC’s vacancy. Outside of the known options, Mussatto mentions multiple internal candidates, including Maurice Cheeks and Mark Daigneault.

Kings Set To Begin Interviews In GM Search

Having parted ways with longtime general manager Vlade Divac last month, the Kings have now formally launched their search for a new head of basketball operations, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Sources tell The Athletic duo that Sacramento is expected to begin interviews as soon as this week.

The Kings have requested permission to speak to Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon, Timberwolves executive VP Sachin Gupta, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair, according to Charania and Amick, who report that the club will also talk to former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox.

It’s not clear if all those teams have granted Sacramento permission to talk to their executives, but none of the candidates identified by The Athletic are heads of basketball operations for their current clubs. If the Kings truly offering decision-making power in their front office, that would represent a promotion for everyone on their list, so I wouldn’t expect any teams to stand in the way.

As we noted on Monday when we previewed the Kings’ offseason, the organization’s plan for its front office has been a little hard to follow. Multiple reports suggested that Divac’s ouster occurred as a result of team owner Vivek Ranadive asking him to surrender control of basketball decisions to Dumars, and Dumars has since been named Sacramento’s interim executive VP of basketball operations.

However, a subsequent report suggested that Dumars won’t be a candidate for the Kings’ permanent general manager job. That report indicated that Dumars would be involved in the hiring process and would interview candidates along with Ranadive. However, it sounds like the plan is for the newly-hired GM to gain full control of roster moves and report directly to Ranadive.

At the time of Divac’s dismissal, there were reports that the Kings’ search for a new GM could take a while, perhaps extending beyond the draft and free agency and into next season. With interviews set to begin soon, perhaps the franchise has decided to accelerate the process.

The Kings have some major roster decisions to make this offseason, including potentially re-signing Bogdan Bogdanovic, extending De’Aaron Fox, making a lottery pick, and considering the possibility of trading Buddy Hield. Any GM candidate seriously considering taking the reins in Sacramento’s front office would likely want to have a voice in those decisions and may also seek clarity on Dumars’ role going forward.

Joe Dumars Won’t Be A Candidate In Kings’ Front Office Search

Last week’s shakeup left Joe Dumars in charge of the Kings‘ front office, but that’s not a role he wants to keep long-term, according to Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Dumars has no interest in remaining Sacramento’s head of basketball operations and will not be a candidate in the upcoming search, the authors report. However, he will be included in the hiring process and will interview candidates along with owner Vivek Ranadive. The new GM will have full control of roster moves and will report directly to Ranadive, rather than Dumars.

The Kings haven’t determined what Dumars’ role with the franchise will be once a new GM is selected, which could become a “problematic component,” Amick and Charania add. There’s no timeline to fill the opening, so Dumars and assistant GM Ken Catanella could be making the draft and free agency decisions in October.

Mike Forde of Sportsology is expected to be the leader in the search for GM candidates. He formerly served as senior manager for Chelsea’s soccer franchise in the English Premier League, and his web site lists the Clippers, Spurs, Sixers and Nets as clients. He also worked as an adviser for the Wizards last spring after they fired Ernie Grunfeld as president of basketball operations.

When he hired Dumars, Ranadive reportedly envisioned a power-sharing arrangement in the front office with former GM Vlade Divac. However, Divac wasn’t willing to accept that and opted to resign, followed a day later by assistant GM Peja Stojakovic.

The authors note there is “significant interest” in the position around the league, despite concerns about what Dumars’ ultimate role might be. “A swell of support” has emerged for Knicks GM Scott Perry, who briefly served as VP of basketball operations in Sacramento before leaving for New York. Sources claim Ranadive and Perry are still on good terms and have remained in touch in the nearly three years since Perry’s departure.

Perry helped the Kings get an individual workout with De’Aaron Fox before the 2017 draft and improved the organization’s reputation through his close relationships with agents and executives. Perry still has a year left on his contract, but a source tells the authors he would be interested in returning to Sacramento as long as he’s guaranteed the final decision on personnel moves. The Kings would have to request permission from the Knicks to talk to Perry, which sources tell Amick and Charania they hadn’t done as of Tuesday night.

The authors list Clippers assistant GMs Mark Hughes and Trent Redden as other candidates to watch, along with Raptors GM Bobby Webster, Celtics VP of basketball operations Mike Zarren, Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations Trajan Langdon, Timberwolves executive VP of basketball operations Sachin Gupta, Spurs VP of basketball operations Brent Barry, and Rockets assistant GM Eli Witus.

Northwest Notes: Bazley, Graham, Gupta, Nuggets

As Thunder forward Darius Bazley continues to acclimate to the NBA, he may be little nervous, as is normal for a rookie. But as Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman writes, Bazley looks more than ready to make an impact this season.

Through two preseason games, Bazley is averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists for the Thunder. Bazley, 19, chose to forgo college and work out with personal trainers until he could enter the NBA draft, but his high school coach says Bazley is ready for the NBA.

“I knew he was going to have success in the league,” said Steve Wright, who coached Bazley at Princeton High School in Cincinnati before he became a member of the Thunder. “He’s super talented — I always knew that… I always talked to him about, when he gets to the next level, he’s going to have a lot of space. In the NBA you’ve got illegal defense, so you can’t just guard the paint. With his size, with his ability to put the ball on the floor, being able to pass, being able to shoot, the NBA fits him well.

That said, Bazley will still certainly have ups and downs as a rookie, as head coach Billy Donovan warns. Thunder fans saw the same last year with Hamidou Diallo, who eventually fell out of the rotation toward the end of the season.

“My biggest thing for him is, as he learns and grows and gets better and has some success, he needs to stay really, really humble,” says the Thunder head man. “And he’s got to stay eager to work and eager to learn. He’s got all the challenges, the difficulties, the adversities that come with being a young player. He’s going to have to have the resiliency to work through those things. If he keeps that kind of attitude, he’s going to really improve.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division this afternoon:

Wolves Hire Pistons’ Sachin Gupta As EVP Of Basketball Ops

JULY 30: More than two months after Gupta’s hiring was first reported, the Timberwolves made it official, issuing a press release to announce that Gupta has been named the team’s executive VP of basketball operations.

“Sachin is an extremely talented basketball mind who brings a diverse and unique background to our staff,” Rosas said in a statement. “Known as a pioneer of basketball analytics and one of the leaders in the CBA, I’m thrilled to partner with Sachin as we aim to build the Timberwolves into one of the most modern and dynamic franchises in the NBA.”

MAY 28: The Timberwolves‘ front office makeover will continue with another new hire, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Pistons executive Sachin Gupta will become Minnesota’s executive VP of basketball operations.

Gupta, a veteran NBA executive who is perhaps best known for inventing ESPN’s trade machine, had been serving as an assistant general manager in Detroit. Before spending last season with the Pistons, he was a special advisor to Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who hired him way back in 2006. Between his two stints in Houston, Gupta also spent several years with the Sixers, working as the VP of basketball operations under Sam Hinkie.

According to JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors (via Twitter), Gupta and the Timberwolves had been discussing a potential role for the last several days. Gupta also interviewed with the team in 2017, but the fit makes more sense now, as he’ll be reunited with new Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, with whom he worked in Houston.

Gupta is the second notable executive the Wolves have brought in since hiring Rosas, joining new assistant GM Gianluca Pascucci. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (via Twitter), Gupta figures to be Minnesota’s new No. 2 under Rosas in the team’s revamped front office.

There has been no word yet on incumbent general manager Scott Layden, but Krawczynski says most people expect him to stay on board in some capacity.

And-Ones: Iguodala, Gupta, Vesely, Williamson

Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala was elected First Vice President of the National Basketball Players Association, according to an NBPA press release. Iguodala has been on the Executive Committee since February 2013. He replaces LeBron James, whose four-year term has expired.

The BucksMalcolm Brogdon, the CelticsJaylen Brown and the HornetsBismack Biyombo were elected to serve as VPs on the Executive Committee. They replace Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry and Iguodala.

Chris Paul remains President of the committee with Anthony Tolliver, Pau Gasol, C.J. McCollum and Garrett Temple also serving on it.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Pistons assistant GM Sachin Gupta never knew ESPN’s Trade Machine would become so popular when he created it in 2006, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Gupta called it a “fun project” and took about a month to write the code for the Trade Machine when he worked for the network, Beard adds. “It’s not meant to replace common sense. It’s not meant to replace any GM’s job,” Gupta said. “It’s simply based on the rules and whether it works or not.”
  • Former NBA player Jan Vesely has signed an extension with Fenerbahce that keep him under contract until 2022, the Turkish team tweets. The 7-foot power forward was drafted by the Wizards with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft but only lasted three NBA seasons.
  • Stephen Curry is a fan of Duke’s Zion Williamson, considered the top prospect in this year’s draft, he said in an interview with The Undefeated and relayed by E. Jay Zarett of the Sporting News. “He’s unreal. We were talking about him the other day in our team room,” Curry said, via Justin Tinsley of the Undefeated. “He has a lot of hype around him and he’s unbelievably talented, but you can’t teach his passion and the way that … he plays. He plays hard every possession, and that’s an underrated skill that kids can kind of emulate.”