Rex Chapman was officially hired Monday by the Timberwolves as a draft consultant, which ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports is a precursor to Chapman serving as a top aide to team vice president Kevin McHale.
Chapman has yet to receive a formal title, but NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com that Chapman is embarking on a key decision-making role in Minnesota's front office only two weeks after leaving his job as Suns director of basketball operations.
Chapman began by helping the Wolves with their selections in Tuesday's NBA draft. With the 14th selection in the first round, Minnesota picked in the lottery for the first time since 1999 and drafted North Carolina's Rashad McCants.
The former University of Kentucky star and 12-year NBA veteran resigned his position with Phoenix on June 15. He later called the move a "mutual decision" amid reports of tension with Suns president Bryan Colangelo.
Sources told ESPN.com that Chapman landed his new job with the strong backing of longtime McHale ally Danny Ainge, vice president of the Boston Celtics.
Chapman, who was instrumental in helping Phoenix lure Steve Nash away from Dallas last July, also played for new Wolves coach Dwane Casey when Casey was an assistant at Kentucky.
While with Phoenix, Chapman spent considerable time scouting the college game and told McHale that he is very familiar with this year's prospects and wanted to put that knowledge to use. McHale said Chapman approached him last week and asked to sit in on the team's draft.
"He's another voice, another person to bounce stuff off of," McHale said Monday at Chapman's introductory news conference.
The contract of Wolves general manager Jim Stack expires Thursday, and it is believed he wants to pursue coaching opportunities in the league. Chapman is expected to replace Stack or work alongside him in an expanded management structure.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.