How Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore’s $ 1.5 billion purchase of Timberwolves can rebuild the team and add diversity in the NBA
Alex Rodriguez on NBC’s “Today” on May 9, 2019.
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Alex Rodriguez is finally a sports owner.
Months after the former major league baseball star fell short of buying the New York Mets, the National Basketball Association opened its owning club. Rodriguez will join former Walmart e-commerce CEO Marc Lore to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves for $ 1.5 billion.
The move has yet to be approved by NBA owners, and Timberwolves’ current owner Glenn Taylor is expected to run the franchise for another two years while Rodriguez and Lore take on their ownership roles.
“You asked me to be there for any decisions that needed to be made,” Taylor told the Associated Press. “I would enjoy that. I love teaching people. These are some very smart people and I think it could be helpful for the club and I think I could be helpful for them to make them feel safe if they take over 100. ” %. “
Taylor will be leaving the club he bought in 1994 for about $ 90 million. It is currently one of the most losing franchises in professional sports and is in the middle of a rift with its biggest franchise star, Kevin Garnett.
Perhaps Rodriguez and Lore can fix the team’s relationship and finally retire Garnett’s jersey. But the new group also needs to deal with how it will build its organization, who will run the basketball side, and what types of owners they will be in terms of diversity.
Although Taylor has been recognized for his work as a sports owner in the Minnesota community, he either failed to bring together great basketball minds or was too contradictory in choosing front office staff and coaches.
Glen Taylor, owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, passes a ball before the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs on November 15, 2017 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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And for as much praise as the NBA with diversity gets, the league lags behind in the C-suite representation of the teams. The NBA received an F in Diversity Settings among Team CEOs and Presidents in the 2020 Diversity Report Card, issued annually by the University of Central Florida.
Of the 55 positions, 50 are white executives, three are black, including Cynthia Marshall, CEO of Dallas Maverick, who also serves as one of six women in the roles. Timerswolves President Gersson Rosas is one of two Hispanic executives.
Some eyes are on the Golden State Warriors as team president Rick Welts retires. The team is said to be considering internal candidates, including Kim Stone, general manager of Chase Arena. The Warriors didn’t respond to a CNBC query when asked if they were considering black executives.
Still, the NBA has a diversity problem in higher front offices. Whether the new Timberwolves owners will help this problem or keep hurting it, time will tell. However, if they do decide to follow any of the hiring trends to help rebuild the franchise, here are a few names to look out for:
Sports agent Aaron Goodwin watches the Sacramento Kings battle the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 12, 2011 at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California.
Copyright 2011 NBAE | Photo by Rocky Widner | NBAE via Getty Images
The old-new trend
One of the recent general trends in NBA owner groups is the hiring of player agents to conduct basketball operations.
The Los Angeles Lakers turned to Kobe Bryant’s longtime agent Rob Pelinka to transform the franchise, while the New York Knicks thrived under former CAA agent Leon Rose. The Knicks could be close to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012/13 season under Rose.
Agents are closer to players and know this side of the NBA landscape better than most, so the trend is working. But the agent trend is nothing new.
The Phoenix Suns tried this with former agent Lon Babby, and the Golden State Warriors moved out of Larry Riley and bequeathed the role to ex-agent Bob Myers to help with their championship runs.
Another name to consider is Aaron Goodwin. Though most know of mega agent Rich Paul, who has become perhaps the NBA agent’s most prominent power broker behind the scenes, Goodwin was there before Paul.
Goodwin was LeBron James’ agent when he joined the NBA in 2003 and helped negotiate top sneaker deals. Goodwin was also a thought leader in building the NBA’s G League Ignite team, where young players make money while they wait for the NBA draft.
He currently represents superstar Damian Lillard of Portland Trail Blazers and security guard DeMar DeRozan of San Antonio Spurs. Should the Timberwolves choose to follow this trend, Goodwin has the résumé for a leadership position.
The ex-player became an executive
Player agents are one trend, but former players with some understanding of the front office are another. It’s currently working well for the Suns with James Jones and Sean Marks, general managers of Brooklyn Nets.
Malik Rose is another fascinating name. He gained experience in both the G League and the Atlanta Hawks and the Detroit Pistons Front Office. Rose now works in the league office, familiarizing herself with the operations of the league under Byron Spruell.
How much power Elton Brand has these days in Philadelphia under Daryl Morey is unclear. But Brand was helping the ’76ers transition to a threat posed by the NBA Eastern Conference and was supposed to gain a more analytical perspective for creating rosters with Morey.
And Michael Finley is gaining experience with Mavericks, who is serving as vice president of basketball operations even though he’s apparently determined to stay in Dallas. With this trend, the trio may be among the names who could aid Rodriguez and Lore in team operations should Rosas be replaced under the new regime.
Joe Dumars attends a panel discussion during the Milken Institute’s annual global conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Michael Kovac | Getty Images
Explosion from the past?
And there’s nothing wrong with the old trend either – the selection of a former or current team leader with extensive NBA knowledge and a track record. The Knicks took advantage of this trend when they hired former Indiana Pacers executive director Donnie Walsh to revive the team.
In this hiring formula, Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri should be in great demand given his track record and leave Canada. But Ujiri may not be available if Rodriguez and Lore take over.
Hence, Sacramento King’s agent Joe Dumars is a longtime personality who knows how to navigate the basketball landscape. Dumars helped orchestrate the domination of the Pistons, particularly from 2003 to 2005 when the team won an NBA championship.
And right in Rosas’ front office sits former president of the Hornets (then Bobcats), Ed Tapscott, who landed the franchise of his arena in Charlotte. Former Jordanian brand manager and president of Portland Trail Blazers, Larry Miller, is also highly regarded. He helped rename the “Jail Blazers” era of the franchise.
The Spurs trend
And Rodriguez and Lore may also want to keep an eye on the Spurs front office, where team principal RC Buford maintains deputy general counsel Brandon James, who has a good understanding of the NBA salary cap and could serve as team president for a couple of years.
Turning to the Spurs executive trend has served Oklahoma City Thunder (dedicated former Spurs executive Sam Presti) and Utah Jazz (Dennis Lindsey) well.
The Thunder had a great run with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at the helm, while Jazz is currently sitting at the Western Conference and is at significant risk of reaching the NBA Finals this season.