The expected happened today, as the Timberwolves new regime fired 10 staff members including Assistant Coach Sidney Lowe, GM Milt Newton, and Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Babcock. Here's the press release:
Minneapolis/St. Paul - Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden this afternoon announced changes in the team's front office and coaching structure:
"Effective immediately, the following individuals will be relieved of their respective duties: previous General Manager Milt Newton, Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Babcock, Vice President of Sports Performance Arnie Kander, Assistant Coach Sid Lowe, Director of Sports Performance Koichi Sato, Manager of Team Travel/Facilities Coordinator Bill Hohenecker, Head of Video Department and Manager of Basketball Technology Brice Long and Scouts Milton Barnes and Jason Hervey."
"We would like to thank all of these individuals for their contributions to our organization and wish them well in their future endeavors."
This comes as no surprise: When a new boss comes in to a franchise, changes are to be expected. Many will be disappointed that Arnie Kander, who oversaw team health last season, is among those who won't be returning, but that was always a long shot. Kander postponed his retirement as a favor to long time friend Flip Saunders, but was ready to return to Colorado where his family resides. There was little chance of him staying, though he will be missed.
Milt Newton was unlikely to stay even if he was wanted. It would have been accepting something of a demotion, and frankly he has a right to feel a little mistreated. Glen Taylor publicly announced that Newton would have a chance to run the team over the summer, but obviously that went by the wayside when he hired Thibodeau almost immediately after the season ended.
Among the names not mentioned in this press release are assistant coaches Bryan Gates, Ryan Saunders, and David Adelman, scout Calvin Booth, and international scout Zarko Durisic. Presumably they remain on the job, at least for now. Whether they will be part of the organization long term remains to be seen.
What also remains to be seen is how Thibodeau and Layden structure the front office and coaching staff, and who they bring in to fill positions.
It's never a good day when a bunch of people lose their jobs, but it was inevitable with a new regime that it would happen, and certainly the Wolves franchise is one that can use some fresh voices and new talents.
Good luck to those who are departing, and we'll keep you updated on any new hires as they get announced.