Minnesota Timberwolves Roundup: Joseph Blair departs, plus ownership notes

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch has more depth to play with this season. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch has more depth to play with this season. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves new ownership group is ready to talk about their new acquisition, and the early returns appear to be positive.

Also, recently promoted assistant coach and Wolves Summer League head coach Joseph Blair has suddenly left the organization for a job with the Washington Wizards.

Minnesota Timberwolves assistant coach Joseph Blair departs for Wizards

Only a few weeks ago, the Wolves promoted Joseph Blair to a front of bench coaching role and added the responsibility of coordinating the team’s defense following the departure of former associate head coach/defensive coordinator David Vanterpool.

Just last week, Blair was preparing the Wolves Summer League squad for their run in Las Vegas and was speaking to the media about pick-and-roll coverages and expectations for the defense in the upcoming season.

But mere hours before the Wolves’ opener in Las Vegas, it came out that Blair was departing the Wolves to join Wes Unseld Jr.’s staff in Washington.

It’s certainly jarring to have a staff member who was recently promoted and handed the keys to the Summer League entry to bolt for another team. Blair was set to be one of just three “front of the bench” coaches in 2020-21, alongside Pablo Prigioni and newcomer Micah Nori.

Blair had spent the 2019-20 season with the Philadelphia 76ers and was previously with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G League, which is where his longtime connection with the Wolves’ Gersson Rosas came from.

No word yet on what the Wolves will do to fill the spot on the staff or who might be promoted to the vacant front of the bench role.

New owners praise Minnesota Timberwolves organization and the market

It’s been roughly four months since rumors began that former Major League Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez and tech billionaire Marc Lore were involved in discussions to acquire the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Now that the transaction is final and Rodriguez and Lore together own 20 percent of the franchise with options to become majority owners by the end of 2023, the duo is easing their way into the public eye and speaking more freely about their acquisition.

Lore and Rodriguez spoke with Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium and gave thoughtful answers on the market, as well as the idea of owning an NBA team for the first time.

Earlier in the week, Lore and Rodriguez spoke to The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski about the relationship with Glen and Becky Taylor (subscription required), including the transition period and just how much Taylor will remain involved over the next two-plus years.

The article also included quotes from Taylor, who spoke to the fast relationship between the Taylors and the new owners.

There’s also intriguing insight into the relationship between Taylor and business leaders in the organization such as Ryan Tanke and Ethan Casson. Taylor states that he sees Rodriguez and Lore entering that same realm in terms of the day-to-day business operations and that Casson and Tanke will communicate regularly with the new minority owners.

The entrance of Lore and Rodriguez into Taylor’s orbit and the next 30 months in which they’ll apparently work closely with those already on the ground at Mayo Clinic Square are going to be fascinating.

Next. What to watch for at Las Vegas Summer League. dark

Here’s hoping that by the time the new ownership duo takes majority control at the end of 2023, the on-court product might in a much better place than it has been for much of the last decade and a half…