NBA 2020-21: Minnesota Timberwolves hire Toronto Raptors’ Chris Finch as their new coach. They parted ways with coach Ryan Saunders after he was with the team for parts of the last three seasons.
Three seasons removed from the franchise’s lone playoff appearance in 16 years, Minnesota is hitting the reset button once again.
The Timberwolves announced late Sunday evening that coach Ryan Saunders had been relieved of his duties following the team’s 103-99 defeat to the New York Knicks.
“We would like to thank Ryan for his time and commitment to the Timberwolves organization and wish him the best in the future,” Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said in a team statement. “These are difficult decisions to make, however, this change is in the best interest of the organization’s short and long-term goals.”
Who is Chris Finch?
On Monday, the Timberwolves announced the hiring of Toronto Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch as their next coach. Finch has 24 years of coaching experience, roughly half of that in Europe.
The two-time NCAA Division III All-American at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania played for the Sheffield Sharks in the British Basketball League and later coached the same team from 1997-2003.
“I am excited to announce Chris Finch as our next head coach,” said Rosas. “Chris brings a wealth of basketball experience from his time in the NBA, G League, and Internationally. He is one of the most creative basketball minds in the NBA, has success maximizing players, and I am excited to see him bring our team to the next level and beyond.”
NEWS: Minnesota @Timberwolves Name Chris Finch Head Coach
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) February 22, 2021
Gersson Rosas’ and Chris Finch’s history
Rosas and Finch worked together in Houston, where Finch was an assistant (2011-16) and Rosas was a basketball operations executive.
Finch was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania played for the Sheffield Sharks in the British Basketball League and later coached the same team from 1997-2003. Finch also coached Britain’s national team in the 2012 Olympics.
“I would like to thank Glen Taylor and Gersson Rosas for this incredible opportunity to be the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves,” said Finch. “I look forward to working hand and hand with Gersson to build and lead a team that Timberwolves fans will be proud of. We have excellent pieces in place and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Saunders, the 34-year-old son of the late Minnesota coach Flip Saunders, was with the Timberwolves for parts of three seasons, going 43-94.
Minnesota has the league’s worst record this season at 7-24 and is already 7 1/2 games out of what would be the final play-in spot for the Western Conference postseason. Saunders officially took the reins in 2019 after an interim stint following the departure of Tom Thibodeau.