Tim Connelly has not made public comment since being named president of the Timberwolves basketball operations Monday. The first press conference is expected to be held this week.
This will give the first real insight into Connelly’s views on the list and structure of basketball operations currently in place.
He will face a number of questions about key players from Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and others, head coach Chris Finch, executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta and more.
Everything is related, everything will have a huge impact on the direction of the Timberwolves for years to come. Because when Minnesota progressed last season, just maintaining this level of success would only be considered a failure. Growth should be hope. The level reached will, in general, be determined by Connelly, starting with the moves he makes this season.
Here’s a look at what should have been on Connelly’s top agenda when he started in Minnesota:
Sachin Gupta: Sachin Gupta, according to many accounts, would certainly be a good employee for the job done by Connelly. He is credited with quickly handling a drastic and sudden leadership change in September, cunningly handling Patrick Beverley’s contract extension negotiations and resisting the urge to make a move only to make a move within the trade deadline, doing what he considered best for the team’s future, even if making a splash is more likely to please an ownership group that will determine its future just a few months later.
At the end of the day, the team owners went with a bigger name with a stronger resume.
However, it is clear the Timberwolves have plans about Gupta maintaining an integral role in the team’s home office, even including him in a press release announcing Connelly’s tenure.
Connelly has a scouting background, while Gupta, currently the executive vice president of basketball operations, is known for his work in analytics.
If the two are able to coexist, Minnesota could have one of the NBA’s most formidable home office tandems.
There will certainly be some awkwardness at the outset of the relationship, with Connelly coming in to take the Gupta job for all the intents and purposes held for the past eight months and certainly expected to continue on a permanent basis.
It is up to Connelly to ensure that the partnership starts smoothly to benefit ourselves and the organization. Because as a running man, Gupta is best equipped to ensure a smooth transition to the Connelly position, which will make the Timberwolves a success in the offseason.
Chris Finch: The relationship between the bench boss and the basketball boss is important in the NBA organization. Synergy between the two positions leads to stability and, often, success.
Finch and Gupta seemed to settle for a brief last season. Now it’s up to Connelly and Finch to go on the same lockstep, starting this offseason.
Connelly is walking into a situation where he might have an opinion about Wolves players, but Finch has worked with some of these guys for almost half a season, and has a good idea of his strengths, weaknesses and how to match – or not match – what he wants .
Finch and Connelly had a previous relationship, with Finch having been an assistant coach for a season in Denver during Connelly’s tenure. The two also spoke during the Connelly hiring process.
Creating a relationship of trust and collaboration quickly should help Connelly get on track this season.
D’Angelo Russell: D’Angelo Russell certainly has a moment this season – the leader among them is his heroic game play -in performance against the Clippers that helped the Timberwolves to the playoffs.
But downs are common as ups.
Offenses don’t always flow when Russell, Anthony Edwards and Towns show the floor, and Russell has a low ceiling at the back of the defense.
How do you balance the making of a grip and the ability to speed up the floor, pass the ball and grab a difficult bucket in the middle distance? Probably not enough to justify Russell’s steady salary.
But in Connelly and Co. .
Whatever the decision, it will be the biggest domino that will fall this season.
City of Karl-Anthony: The recognition of All-NBA third team Karl-Anthony Towns means the center is eligible this offseason to sign a four-year extension, $ 210.9 million that will be added in the remaining two years of the current deal.
It sounds like a no-brainer to keep the all-star in Minnesota as long as possible, no matter the term. It might be like what Connelly felt.
But last year the extension would pay Towns $ 58 million to cover. Does Connelly believe Towns is a building block of champion caliber? Otherwise, it may be difficult to complete too many extensions, which would have hampered management’s maneuvering of the past two years.
Things can get awkward between the team and the star center if the Wolves offer extra money for less than the maximum number in front of the Towns. But it could be a risk worth taking if, after assessing the big men, Connelly determines Towns needs a lot of help to lift Minnesota to the top title.
Malik Beasley: Connelly has traded two players on the Timberwolves roster now. He made a deal with Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt to Minnesota in 2019, as part of a three -team deal that sent Robert Covington to Houston.
In retrospect, that’s not one of Connelly’s more prosperous moves. Denver doesn’t get much reward for trading away from role players. There’s no question that he’d love to have Vanderbilt on his list anymore. The young striker has proven to be a valuable player with a team -friendly deal.
But what about Beasley? The guards seem to be largely the same players in Denver, and Connelly decided to move him to pay back then. Yes, Beasley has been paid. Does Connelly think a player of Beasley’s caliber – along with off -court issues – is worth $ 15.5 million due this season?
Otherwise, the snipers have the potential to trade other chips with a deal that could expire – there are team options for the 2023-24 season – the Timberwolves could use to continue trying to turn around and raise their roster this summer.