Tag:Tony Ronzone
Posted on: September 2, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 8:20 pm

Timberwolves lose assistant GM Tony Ronzone

Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-kahn

The surest sign of dysfunction in the NBA is employee turnover.

The model, successful franchises realize that the relationship between basketball operations staff, coaching staff and players is a delicate chemistry, and they seek to find the right pieces and understand that those relationships need plenty of time to germinate together. The league's weaker sisters, on the other hand, can chew through executives, coaches and players at an astonishing rate, out of impatience, frustration, dissatisfaction or any number of other negative reasons.

So it should come as no surprise that the Minnesota Timberwolves -- winners of just 32 games combined over the last two seasons, still without a head coach after months, and still led by bumbling president David Kahn -- are parting ways with a key basketball operations executive less than 18 months after bringing him aboard.

StarTribune.com reports that Minnesota and assistant GM Tony Ronzone are heading down opposite forks in the road.
Timberwolves assistant general manager Tony Ronzone has left the organization. Known for his international-scouting connections, he was hired in spring 2010 just about the time Fred Hoiberg was headed for Iowa State's head-coaching job and had a voice in personnel moves that included drafting Wes Johnson and Derrick Williams as well as trading away Al Jefferson, acquiring Michael Beasley and re-signing center Darko Milicic.

The Wolves, through a spokesman, said they and Ronzone mutually have agreed to part ways and wished him good luck.

It's been a messy summer for the Timberwolves basketball operations staff. Kahn insinuated the NBA Draft Lottery was rigged and then back-tracked. The organization burned two draft picks for nothing when they traded an injured Jonny Flynn to the Houston Rockets and drafted a 26-year-old player who was technically ineligible to be selected. On top of that, Kahn bungled the firing of former head coach Kurt Rambis badly and has yet to select a replacement, making the Timberwolves the only team in the league without a head coach. Kahn also violated the NBA's gag order on discussing players during the lockout by referring to multiple members of his team during a press conference, a move that reportedly drew a fine from the league office.

We don't know why, specifically, Ronzone decided to bounce out of town, but no one would blame him if he simply said, "enough is enough."

Regardless of Ronzone's motivations or the circumstances surrounding his depature, executive turnover can be as damaging as roster turnover to a basketball team's on-court success. GM's and presidents have varying philosophies and look to target coaches and players who will carry out those ideas. Locating new executives resets that whole process, and the organization finds itself spinning its wheels in the meantime.

If there's a bright spot here it's that the lockout currently has no end in sight, so Kahn need not rush to fill these vacancies. But it takes a good organization to attract and retain good people, a fact that doesn't bode well for the Timberwolves. 
Posted on: May 5, 2011 2:58 pm

Timberwolves brass chasing Ricky Rubio in Spain

The Minnesota Timberwolves are visiting point guard Ricky Rubio in Spain in an attempt to bring him to the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver. ricky-rubio

It's the NBA's version of Groundhog Day: Every six weeks or so, a report out of Minnesota indicates that the Timberwolves are somehow progressing towards bringing Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio to the NBA. 

The most recent edition, courtesy of the Star-Tribune, notes that Timberwolves brass, including president David Kahn and assistant GM Tony Ronzone, are in Europe to meet with Rubio in an attempt to get something done in the short term.
A Timberwolves contingent led by David Kahn are spending the next week in Spain for this weekend's Euroleague Final Four and to continue work they intend will get Ricky Rubio signed to a NBA contract within a month. 
But his team still has Spanish league play left during a European season that, like the NBA, never seems to end. That fact could complicate the timing of a completed deal because Rubio must exercise a $1 million-plus buyout with his Barcelona team and because Rubio and his family don't want it to appear as if he already has a foot out the door to the NBA before his team's season concludes.
The paper goes on to note that if Rubio signs before May 31 he will qualify under the current rookie scale contract set-up rather than have an uncertain contract status in whatever faces rookies in a renegotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But ProBasketballTalk.com notes that the money situation really isn't all that favorable in Minnesota and Rubio needn't be in a huge rush to get things done.
The NBA rookie scale is already very restrictive — Rubio would take more than a 50 percent pay cut to leave Barcelona for the Wolves right now, and he would be locked into that rookie deal for at least three and more likely five years. The new CBA may make the rookie scale a little smaller, but the owners are far more concerned about long-term free agent deals and restricting those than the rookie scale. The owners love the rookie scale. 
If Rubio waits a third year after his draft (one more season), he is no longer subject to the NBA rookie scale. This is what Tiago Splitter did to the Spurs — he waited it out then came over on his own financial terms.
So if the money isn't a deal-maker, then it's on the Timberwolves to prove to Rubio that they are a more desirable place to ply his basketball trade than Barcelona, one of Europe's most well-regarded clubs in one of the world's most beautiful cities playing in front of countrymen, friends and family. 

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, finished with the NBA's worst record even though they won two more games than last season! The roster has more holes than a slice of swiss cheese inside a moon crater, their coach is permanently on the hot seat and, should he be unable to deliver Rubio for next season, Kahn will be too. 

Generally whenever a European star decides to come to the NBA the first words out of his mouth are: "The time was right." It's difficult to imagine how next season, with the lockout and Minnesota's outlook, could be the right time for Rubio.
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