Timberwolves owners Glen Taylor, Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez sat for a news conference Monday at the team's practice court at Mayo Clinic Square.
Above the stage was Gersson Rosas' old second-floor office.
That backdrop served as an almost too obvious metaphor for the day's proceedings.
As much as the organization tries to move forward — Taylor claimed the owners were not "legally" in a position to comment on Rosas' firing last week — it was the president of basketball operations' unceremonious exit that added tension to a day originally planned to focus solely on the long-term future of the franchise.
Lore and Rodriguez are on a path to take over as controlling owners of the Wolves and the WNBA's Lynx from Taylor in December 2023.
Lore, 50, a billionaire entrepreneur from New Jersey, said he prided himself on transparency at his companies, but when asked what values he hoped the events of past week would convey to fans about the direction of the NBA franchise, he said he could not comment .
The Wolves are conducting an investigation into Rosas' tenure with the team in part because of his recent actions involving a female employee who is no longer with the organization.
Rodriguez, 46, a three-time American League MVP who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, spoke more broadly about the culture and values he and Lore hope to establish with the Wolves.
"Overall that we're not going to compromise in anything, right?" Rodriguez said. "Whether that's behavior, missions, facilities, players, staff and management. We're going through the exercise right now, spending tons of hours, interviewing people, both fans, media, coaches, players, about how do we start building a great mission, a great foundation and then really build a very flat organization where there's full transparency, fairness and honesty."
Fans have to take Lore and Rodriguez – who will pay $1.5 billion for the team — at their word that they won't relocate the Wolves. And Monday was one of the pair's first chances to affirm their commitment to staying in Minnesota. That was important to Taylor, an 80-year-old Mankato-based businessman who also owns the Star Tribune, even if there isn't language in the sale agreement binding the team to the state as Taylor said there would be.
"We have no plans to move this," Rodriguez said. "Our plan is to be right here and do really, really exciting things and bring a world championship to this city."
Taylor paid $94 million for the Wolves in 1994 and later took ownership of the Lynx, who have won four WNBA titles.
Arena on the horizon
One of those exciting things Rodriguez referenced could be a new arena, which Lore said was a possibility. Target Center underwent renovations that the team and city of Minneapolis completed in 2017, but it remains one of the oldest arenas in the NBA.
"There's a great opportunity to eventually build a new arena and infuse it with the latest technology," Lore said. "I think one of the things that really excites us, for example, is augmented reality. It could be incredible if we infuse that into the fan experience. There's a lot of opportunities if you're building from scratch and we're excited about that opportunity."
But Lore said they are "nowhere near" the point of building one.
"It's something in the back of our minds, like that would be nice one day, but we're nowhere near the point where we're thinking about it, talking about it, analyzing it," Lore said. "We have to go in the appropriate order."
A new arena may be years down the line, but the vacancy at the top of the Wolves' basketball operations requires immediate attention.
Executive vice president Sachin Gupta is now running the day-to-day operations. He is the fifth person to take charge of basketball operations since Kevin McHale left the franchise in 2009.
"When things go through difficult times, I think the leader has to step up and take responsibility, and I'm going to do that," Taylor said. "If I should be criticized, I'm willing to accept that. If I am to learn from that, that's fine with me."
Among the new duties Gupta will assume is negotiating trades, a responsibility he'll take on amid talks with Philadelphia for Sixers guard Ben Simmons.
When asked for a timeline on finding a new president and which of the three owners would make the call on that hire, Taylor chose instead to give Gupta a vote of confidence.
"We're just very fortunate in this case to have somebody with knowledge and history with our club and in basketball that we can immediately switch to, in which we've done," Taylor said. "So I'm confident that we're set for the future, and I think we've made our immediate decisions."
After the news conference, Lore concurred.
"I've already started to build a relationship with Sachin, and he's quite a talent," Lore said. "He also exhibits many of the core values that we're looking to instill in this organization."
Lore said he and Rodriguez would not just "jump in and start making decisions" though they would have input in the process as they did in the decision to fire Rosas. They didn't give a timetable for how the process of picking a new president would play out.
"Glen is the controlling owner and will have the final decision, absolutely," Lore said. "But he's already been asking Alex and I for our input, and we've been involved in all the key decisions to date."