Last night it was reported by ESPN’s, Adrian Wojnarowski, that the Minnesota Timberwolves, had relived Ryan Saunders of his coaching duties.
The move came after the Timberwolves lost to the Knicks 103-99. After the game, Gersson Rosas, President of Basketball Operations, informed Saunders of the decision.
“We would like to thank Ryan for his time and commitment to the Timberwolves organization and wish him the best in the future,” said Rosas. “These are difficult decisions to make, however this change is in the best interest of the organization’s short and long-term goals.”
The Timberwolves have now lost 8 out of their last 9 games, as well as having the worst record in the NBA at 7-24.
During his two and a half year tenure, Saunders went 43-94. It was a tough task for Saunders, son of the late great Flip Saunders, as he only got to coach his two All-Stars, Towns and Russell, in five of those games since 2019.
Three years removed from a playoff appearance, the Timberwolves seem to be looking for a fresh start. On Monday, they announced the hiring of new head coach Chris Finch.
Welcome to Minnesota, Coach Finch! 🐺 pic.twitter.com/YOzvuKRQcp— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 22, 2021
Finch, who was serving as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors, has a strong relationship with Rosas. They both worked together in Houston (2011-2016), where Finch was an assistant and Rosas was an operations executive (per NBA.com).
“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.”
It’s an interesting move as this marks the first time since 2009 that an active assistant became a head coach for a new team, mid-season.r
However, there is certainly potential brewing in Minnesota. Finch will make his head coaching debut Tuesday night, against Giannis and the Bucks.