The Wizards are already preparing for the departure of Pat Connelly, who is expected to assume an unspecified front office position with the Phoenix Suns in the next week or two. But the front office might take another hit after the draft, if Flip Saunders decides to add Milt Newton to his staff with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
KSTP (1500 AM) is reporting that Newton, the Wizards vice president of player personnel, is a “good bet” to become the next general manager of the Timberwolves. The report added that a move would not happen until after the draft.
Saunders assumed the role of president of basketball operations last month, returning to the organization where he experience some of his greatest success. He worked with Newton during his 2 1/2 year stint as coach of the Wizards.
When asked if he had spoken to Newton about joining him in Minnesota, Saunders replied via text message: “Not even thinking about talking to anybody or doing anything until after July 1.”
Saunders made similar comments this week to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which reported that Saunders had spoken with Newton and New Orleans assistant general manager Tim Connelly, a former member of the Wizards’ front office. He added that he wasn’t certain that he needed to make any new hires. “I’ve talked to a lot of people about a lot of things,” Saunders told the newspaper. “We’re going to wait until after, to see where we are. If I feel comfortable where we’re at, we’ll continue as is. If I feel we need to bring in somebody else, we’ll do that.”
Newton has been with the organization for almost 10 years after previously helping with the establishment of the NBA Developmental League as its director of player personnel and serving as a scout with the Philadelphia 76ers under Larry Brown. He won a national championship at Kansas with Brown in 1988. Newton has also been considered for general manager positions with Cleveland, Portland, New Orleans and Phoenix in recent years.
Pat Connelly spent the past five seasons with the Wizards, including the past two as director of player personnel, a role previously held by his brother, Tim.