Souhan: futuristic dreams of new owners do not match Wolves reality


After listening to the owners of the Timberwolves talk, I worry about the team moving.

I’m afraid they won’t move.

New owners Mark Lore and Alex Rodriguez sat alongside current owner Glen Taylor on Monday morning and discussed management philosophies. Later, I asked Lore, who promises to make Wolves winners, about his goal of creating a futuristic city.

“It’s in the future, a decades-long project,” he said.

Lore’s Dream is a $ 400 billion, new-age, self-sufficient, eco-friendly desert town.

He believes that no worker should have to commute for more than 15 minutes. That all waste must be stored underground. That all vehicles be autonomous. Lore promotes an economic system he calls “fairness,” a reformed version of capitalism, and envisions a city that seeks to blend the best of New York, Stockholm and Tokyo.

Let me say it unequivocally:

It’s crazy.

I mean, the Timberwolves winning part.

The Jetson City thing? It is much more likely to happen.

Here is the problem with the new-owner-meets-local-press functions. The message is always the same: “I, rich successful and innovative, I will apply the principles that made me a rich successful and innovative to this sports team, which will guarantee success.

Lore is a remarkable story, and Rodriguez once hit a brace down the left field line to beat the Twins in a playoff game. Combine the two and you have an accomplished trading operator.

Lore makes the same assumption as every other major league sports owner, that the change in “culture” and business practices will result in championships. But now he’s competing with 29 other billionaires whose business practices have made them wealthy enough to afford a bouncing ball business.

Take Taylor. He is one of the most impressive businessmen in Minnesota history, with the inventor of the bucket of fondant cookies. He saved the Wolves from leaving town and bought the Star Tribune because he cares about local institutions.

Applying the business principles that made him a self-made billionaire, Taylor made a series of disastrous hires that helped the Minnesota Timberwolves become one of the worst sports franchises in modern American history.

In a league that allows any team that can dribble straight into their playoffs, Wolves haven’t won a playoff series since 2004.

Even crazier, Taylor was once hired to run his basketball operation a former sports journalist.

So if Lore wants to tell me that someday I’ll live in a magical town where geese don’t poop and every bar can honestly say they serve the coldest beer in town, hey I’m a believer . Hit that rocket on my back, give me these VR glasses that show Vikings kickers making all their clutch field goals, and count me down.

But if you’re trying to tell me that the “vision” that makes Walmart a bit more profitable is going to create an NBA champion, I have a beautiful patch of wilderness to sell you.

On Monday, Rodriguez introduced himself as someone who, like Lore, started with “the bottom” and was successful. Fine. He also introduced himself as a championship guru and said that details like “shower heads” can help change a culture.

Shower heads have nothing to do with this. The Twins had leaky Metrodome showerheads when they won two titles, and the Lynx had the same showerhead design as the Wolves when they won four titles.

Rodriguez played 22 seasons and won a championship – when his New York Yankees spent $ 65 million ($ 201 million vs. $ 135 million for the Mets and Cubs) in a sport with no salary cap.

They literally bought a title. Lore and Rodriguez won’t be able to do that in the NBA without breaking a lot of rules.

If they turn Wolves into winners, it won’t be because of magical thinking. Either they’ll hire the right person to run their basketball operation, or they won’t. The history of the sport suggests that it requires an unpredictable mixture of intuition and luck, two products that cannot be bought over the counter.

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