Basketball and India

Sachin Gupta: How the Minnesota Timberwolves' top executive could remove 'interim' tag

On Thursday, Sep. 23, the NBA received its first-ever Indian-origin top executive in Sachin Gupta.

Formerly Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Indian American was named the franchise's interim President of Basketball Operations. The news came shortly after the franchise parted ways with former President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas.

MORE: Rise and journey of Sachin Gupta

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Timberwolves are planning to conduct a "broader search to find a permanent replacement" for Rosas, though it's believed that Gupta will be provided a chance to be the team's full-time president.

How can he prove himself worthy of the promotion with the removal of the interim tag?

Stability

Rosas' departure comes just under a week before Media Day and training camp, which isn't ideal. It also caught the franchise superstar Karl-Anthony Towns by surprise, which isn't ideal either.

Whether it's players, executives, coaches, staff or ownership, what the Timberwolves need right now is a calm head and some stability. The roster, which is no doubt talented and filled with potential, must be allowed to focus on their task on the court rather than face multiple questions repeatedly about the functioning of the front office or ownership.

While the players will be asked those questions nonetheless, a lot of how they face those will depend on the attitude and approach that Gupta and the management set.

The stability issue is one the franchise has been facing for quite a while, proven by their 15 losing seasons and just one playoff appearance (2018) since 2004.

How Gupta handles this forthcoming pressure could play a huge role in his candidacy during the team's search to fill the vacancy.

Track record

As reported by The Athletic, Gupta is well-received by the current staff within the franchise's front office and will be given a chance in the No. 1 role when the team begins their search to replace Rosas.

Going by his track record, that puts the Indian-origin executive in the driver's seat to land the promotion.

In his 16 years, Gupta has been part of front offices in Houston and Philadelphia. With the Rockets, where he was on Daryl Morey's staff, he played a prominent role in the franchise landing James Harden via a trade deal in 2012, which sparked the team's most successful stint since their two championships in 1994 and 1995.

While with the 76ers, as Sam Hinkie's No. 2, he had a huge say in the decisions that were part of "The Process," which resulted in them getting two stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Interestingly, it's acquiring Simmons that could be Gupta's first mandate or objective given the interest the Timberwolves have reportedly shown to acquire the 25-year-old all offseason.

Despite his lower trade value coming off a tough second-round series in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Simmons would be a tremendous fit next to the Timberwolves' two cornerstones in Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards.

Having been the man behind the code for ESPN's Trade Machine, Gupta is well-versed with the intricacies of the CBA. Therefore, not just because of his new position but even with respect to expertise, there's nobody better than him to take a call on whether or not the Timberwolves should pull the trigger on a trade deal to land Simmons.

That said, the best way forward for Gupta is to let his work do the talking, as he has in all his front office stops since 2006.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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