Archives For Tony Ronzone

Ronzone shuffles

Benjamin Polk —  September 4, 2011 — 8 Comments

So while I spent the early part of Labor Day weekend attempting to avoid being devoured by hawks and bears and mountain lions in the wilds of western New Mexico, Tony Ronzone and the Wolves went and “parted ways.” Jerks. Here’s what the AP has to say about it:

Philosophical differences between Kahn and Ronzone on the direction of the franchise started to surface around draft time in June and may have contributed to the split. It remains unclear what the Timberwolves will do, if anything, to replace Ronzone going forward.

Ah, good ol’ “philosophical differences.” Friends, this troubles me in a number of ways. It had always seemed to me that the two people in the Wolves’ upper-echelon who really, deeply knew the game were Kurt Rambis and Ronzone. Through all the surreality of the past year, it was nice to know that, somewhere near the top of the chain, was a guy whose decisions were based on things like data and close observation and experience.  Now they are both gone and, as commenter Mac says, Kahn has “nobody left to fire other than himself and the owner.”

Let’s be clear; we don’t know what these “philosophical differences” really amounted to.  But it is beginning to look like Kahn has a pretty generous view of his own expertise. The man seems to believe that he has a vision, but that vision is as inscrutable as ever.

Photo by Tristan Tom

We’ve publicly touted our appreciation for Ryan Gomes in these very pages, so its nice to discover that somebody else shares the opinion. ESPNLA’s Kevin Arnovitz recently wrote a nice piece on Gomes and found the new Clipper to be just as thoughtful and open as advertised:

Ask him why the Timberwolves struggled in the triangle, and he’ll tell you the specific point in the sequence when defenses anticipated the action and clamped down on the offense. Ask him how his good friend Al Jefferson will fare in Utah’s flex offense, and he’ll speak in detail about how Jefferson will flourish and which reads will prove most difficult for the big man. Ask him about the particulars of his game as an NBA small forward, and Gomes is an open book.

True that. While I’m happy that Gomes has the chance to start for a team that could make some playoff noise, I must say I’m a little bummed that it had to be the Clips.

I know that, as Wolves fans, we get used to moaning about our sometimes bewildering front office. But always remember that it could be so, so much worse. You could be a Clippers fan. I know the Clippers have a talented group this year, but they also boast probably the worst owner in sports. When Donald Sterling speaks, you can just feel the doom descend. Here’s his most recent offering, this time touching on Gomes and another old acquaintance of ours (from TJ Simers of the LA Times via Mr. Arnovitz at Truehoop):

A couple of months ago this was going to be the summer of all summers for the Clippers, a fresh start, a chance to hire a new coach, $17 million in cap space to go after LeBron or other big names like him and make a huge splash. And so they signed Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes.

Or, as Sterling put it, “If I really called the shots we wouldn’t have signed Gomes and what’s the other guy’s name? You know, they told me if we built a new practice facility we’d attract all the top players in the game,” Sterling adds. “I guess I should have doubled the size of this place.”

He’s no different than most Clippers fans.

“I swear to you, I never heard of these guys,” Sterling says, “but what if the coach says he wants them?”

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve felt the need to defend Randy Foye’s honor. While I will admit that the Clippers apparent attempt to reconstruct the 2008 Timberwolves roster (along with Foye and Gomes, Craig Smith and Bassy Telfair have all been Clips in the past year) is pretty amusing, as Arnovitz points out, this Sterling quote is pure, ignorant poison.

How would you rate the job GM David Kahn has done so far with the Timberwolves?

KL: I was hoping Ricky Rubio comes over and play… We definitely upgraded our team this summer. We re-signed Darko Milicic, we got Michael Beasley, we got a bunch of other players like Luke Ridnour, Sebastian Telfair… So we’re definitely looking better. Last year was a very tough one. As far as the job that he did, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens the next couple of years with our team.

Even better:

Would you like to become a free agent or would you rather sign an extension and get that out of the way?

KL: I’d love to sign an extension and kind of get that out of the way. I’m very comfortable in Minnesota, I like the style that Kurt Rambis has and the coaching staff as well. I want to keep getting better and better and signing an extension would be a little more sweet rather than bitter sweet.

Few know this better than Tony Ronzone, the director of international player personnel for the United States team. His years of circling the globe as an N.B.A. scout and a coach in New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China earned him a spot on the staff. Ronzone, also an assistant general manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves, will prepare the American players for the personnel on the court and the atmosphere off it. In Europe, Ronzone said, lighters and loose change are commonly confiscated at the gate because fans have been known to heat coins before throwing them.

They heat the coins!

  • Finally, this is not Wolves-related but I command you to read this  SI piece on Hubie Brown (thanks again to Kevin Arnovitz at Truehoop) from 1983, in which Hubie expands on the need to “make [your players] cry for mercy,” his own desire for “complete control” of his team, and the fact that “Bill Russell is a terrible human being.” Paranoia, homophobia and undiluted rage abound. Maybe I’m revealing my age here, but I had no idea that Hubie was such a reactionary maniac in his younger days. How did he turn into such a nice old granddad?