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What should candidates for the open President of Basketball Operations gig be asking the Wolves?



The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently in the process of replacing Tom Thibodeau’s former position as President of Basketball Operations. There have been a few names that have been brought up as candidates for the job.

According to reports, Michael Winger, Gersson Rosas, and Calvin Booth are among the names mentioned for the position with the Wolves.

These job interviews don’t work like job interviews for normal corporate jobs throughout America. They’re different, as they should be. Even so, it’s predictable which types of questions will be asked by the Wolves to the prospective candidates. They’ll be asked what the plan to fix the cap situation should be, how the Wolves can best maximize Karl-Anthony Towns, and a few other things.

What may be more important than the questions candidates get asked by the teams could be the questions asked to the team by the candidates. These could be more vital to either deciding which candidate is best, but also for the candidate to determine if the fit works on that side, too.

What will the chain of communication look like?

This question is really just a different way of asking how involved owner Glen Taylor will be in the operations of the team. Model organizations tend to have owners that don’t meddle too much in the decisions that are made on a day-to-day basis. They hire smart people and let those smart people do the smart things that they were hired to do. That’s the formula that works.

Having a President of Basketball Operations that reports directly to Taylor, with both the general manager and coach reporting to the POBO rather than to Taylor would be the right idea. This is the way to ensure that the organization is constantly on the same page.

The Wolves – and Taylor – have made some really bad hires in the past. It’s understandable if they would be tentative to put this type of trust in someone, but if that trust can’t be had, is the right person really being hired?

Does the POBO get to hire the general manager and the coach?

Arranged marriages in sports rarely work out. There’s often the thought of, ‘well, he’s not really MY guy,’ if a coach or general manager is unsuccessful under a new President of Basketball Operations. If both general manger Scott Layden and interim coach Ryan Saunders are forced upon the new President of Basketball Operations, it might not be a good thing.

The coaching hire – as strange as this sounds – may be less important than the general manager position. Partly because Saunders is viewed as someone that has a bright future in coaching, and partly because there’s a relatively high chance that the new President of Basketball Operations would prefer a general manager he’s comfortable with. Chances are, that won’t be Layden.

Even if the new hire would want to keep things as is in the front office and with the coaching staff, that person should have the authority to make the decision and it’s something that shouldn’t be forced by ownership.

Can Andrew Wiggins be moved?

The contract Wiggins signed a couple offseasons back is a doozy. That’s up there for one of the worst deals in the NBA as of right now (John Wall says hello!), and it’s hard to imagine the Wolves becoming insanely competitive with him on the roster.

It’s fair to wonder whether or not Wiggins can be a contributor on a winning team. His high usage rate and low efficiency shows it would be a tough ask. His usage is too high to be a third option, and his efficiency is too low to be a second option. Simply put, the Wolves are stuck right now.

At some point – barring an unexpected improvement from Wiggins – the Wolves will have to look to move him out of town. The question that should be asked is just how soon can that process begin? If the answer is whenever, the follow up becomes, what’s the appropriate asset to attach in a trade to get him off the books?

What happens if this group of players doesn’t work out?

It’s no secret that the Wolves are fairly tied into the group of players that the currently have. It’s going to be tough to substantially upgrade the roster – short of winning the draft lottery – for the foreseeable future. That’s through no fault of whichever candidate is hired.

What if this hole can’t be escaped? At what point does it make sense to blow this up? Trading away the top players to stockpile draft assets could be something that needs to be addressed down the road. It’s a ways off, but it’s definitely a question worth asking by the candidates.





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