It's been a rough week for a couple of owners in the NBA's Western Conference, and, as you'd expect, the San Antonio Spurs are nowhere near the drama. Still, the damaging reports are a reminder of just how bad things can get within an organization.
First, NOLA.com's Christian Clark released a detailed piece (subscription required) about the many failures of New Orleans Pelicans owner David Griffin. The article's title says it all. "Fired coaches, flawed rosters, frosty rapport with Zion: Inside David Griffin's turbulent Pelicans tenure", begins the write-up.
Within, Clark reveals he talked with more than 12 current and former team employees for his report. "A segment of team employees actively disliked him," says Clark. The firings of Alvin Gentry and Stan Van Gundy from their head coaching positions soon followed as star Zion Williamson became increasingly frustrated.
Despite Zion averaging 27.0 points and 7.2 points in the 2020-21 campaign, his Pelicans still fell behind the Spurs in the standings to end the season, narrowly missing the play-in tournament with a record of 31-41. "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is kind of insane, so I’m not going to sit here and say we’re close," Williamson said after the season.
Former Pelican J.J. Redick, who recently announced his retirement from the league, once had some scathing remarks on the Pelicans' front office as well. "I don't think you're going to get honesty from that front office," he said. "I don’t think what happened with me is necessarily an isolated incident either.”
Despite having talented rosters over the last three seasons, New Orleans has only managed to win 33, 30, and 31 games. They'll have a lot of work to do from the top down to be competitive again.
The Timberwolves' president is fired
Not long after the Pelicans' report, Shams Charania revealed details surrounding the sudden firing of Minnesota Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas.
In the report (subscription required), Charania and Jon Krawczynski discuss Rosas' "dysfunctional" reign as full of "tension rippling through the front office." The Minnesota Timberwolves haven't made the postseason since 2017-18 and were one of the worst teams in the NBA in each of the last two years under Rosas (19-45 and 23-49).
On top of some questionable choices throughout his tenure, the intimate relationship with a co-worker certainly isn't a great look either. According to The Athletic, the affair understandably made many staffers within the Wolves organization uncomfortable, impacting why the decision to fire Rosas was made so close to training camp.
These front office disasters serve as a reminder
The Spurs have finished with records closer to the Pelicans and Wolves in the last couple of seasons than I would hope. Still, there's a huge difference between how San Antonio runs their organization and some of the dumpster fires going on elsewhere in the league.
With the recent promotion of Peter J. Holt to managing partner and Michael Dell as a strategic partner, the streak of avoiding scandals and damning reports in the front office is (*knock on wood*) likely to continue.
As warranted as some of the criticisms of the team have been as of late, these situations serve as a reminder that things could definitely be much worse. Narrowly missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons is frustrating, and the Spurs are headed for likely doing that at least one more time.
But anyone thinking any part of the organization's front office is among the worst in the league might want to do some re-evaluating.