The move is Tim Connelly’s first addition to his new staff in Minnesota.
Orlando Magic Vice President of Basketball Operations Manager Matt Lloyd is finalizing a deal to join the Minnesota Timberwolves as Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The move is new President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly’s first addition to the Wolves’ front office, but surely will not be the last we see this summer. Lloyd joins Connelly and Steve Senior, who was hired away from the Memphis Grizzlies to be an Assistant General Manager focused on player development, as the new front office hires so far this summer.
Lloyd — like Connelly — has a deep background is in scouting and, according to Wojnarowski, is well-regarded for his “relationships with teams and agents in deal-making.”
Lloyd comes well-regarded with his tenacity and connections on the scouting trail and relationships with teams and agents in deal-making. Lloyd joins Connelly now in a high-ranking role to help transform the organization’s basketball operations. https://t.co/W0ZhGRyYjN
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 3, 2022
There is no word on whether or not Lloyd will rank higher than current Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta, who is also highly thought of for his deal-making skills — but more so from an analytical and CBA perspective. But, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported shortly after the news broke that Gupta “remains a big part of the Wolves’ vision.”
Krawczynski also added that Lloyd oversaw scouting (including professional, college and international departments) for the Magic, who made two selections in the top 10 last season — Minnesota’s own and Gonzaga star Jalen Suggs, and Michigan forward Franz Wagner — both of whom have proven to be excellent selections one year later.
Orlando has also drafted in recent years dynamic point guard Cole Anthony, versatile forward Chuma Okeke and center Mo Bamba. Other key draftees during Lloyd’s tenure include Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac. The biggest miss is certainly Mario Hezonja, whom the Magic selected fifth overall in 2015.
Lloyd has been with the Magic since 2012, when he was hired as an Assistant General Manager, a position he held until his promotion to VP of Basketball Operations last summer. Before that, he worked for the Chicago Bulls for more than a decade, grinding his way from the PR department to basketball operations, where he made quite the impactful move.
From asking around a bit about Matt Lloyd, he gets very similar praise to Connelly.
Very well respected as a scout. Kinda old school. Interesting nugget: multiple people credited him for the Jimmy Butler pick in Chicago.
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) June 3, 2022
During his tenure in Orlando, Lloyd has also been responsible for overseeing and compiling the team’s statistical analysis of both pro and amateur players, which makes his fit alongside Gupta an interesting one.
Most teams do not have two Vice Presidents of Basketball Operations. We can argue about title semantics all we want, but according to our friend Dane Moore, it would appear Gupta will be the No. 3 in Minnesota and that his days may be numbered.
Sachin Gupta was the No. 2 in Philadelphia under Sam Hinkie 11 years ago (when he was 27).
It’s only reasonable to assume a demotion to No. 3 in Minnesota numbers his days with the team. (Not to mention the junk he dealt with under Rosas, prior to new ownership stepping in.) https://t.co/O2wcufqxI6
— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) June 3, 2022
But, there are conflicting reports about where Gupta falls on the rank ladder.
And it appears it’ll also be this way with the Timberwolves, after checking in with a source. https://t.co/QBJSZsdOji
— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) June 3, 2022
Either way, it’s unfortunate if Gupta’s days are in fact numbered considering how aggressively Head Coach Chris Finch went to bat this spring for Gupta to get the No. 1 job full-time. Not to mention that this new front office has extensive experience in scouting, but little in the analytical sphere — which is becoming equally important in today’s NBA — which is Gupta’s specialty.
Last month, Krawcrazynski reported the Wolves declined to pick up the option on former Assistant General Manager Gianluca Pascucci’s contract for next season. That is notable here, because Pascucci oversaw the team’s draft scouting and the Iowa Wolves, and Lloyd feels like a natural, very strong candidate to assume that position. If Lloyd does indeed fill that role, it would make sense that he comes in at No. 3 in that power structure, considering Pascucci worked under Gupta this past season.
But, things are changing at Mayo Clinic Square. As presently constructed, it is hard not to be excited about the future of the Timberwolves considering who they have been able to bring in over the few weeks.
Connelly is incredibly well-respected as a scout, and just brought in one of the league’s better-tenured heads of scouting in Lloyd, which should make for some fireworks as the Wolves enter a pivotal draft with four picks — significant assets to help vault an exciting young team into more serious Western Conference contention next season.