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Timberwolves hire new head coach after firing Ryan Saunders

The team announced that Raptors assistant Chris Finch will take the helm of the floundering team, which currently has the worst record in the NBA.
Credit: Minnesota Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves have announced the hiring of a new head coach, mere hours after firing Ryan Saunders following the team's loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday.

President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas announced in a press release Monday morning that Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch will take the helm of the floundering franchise, currently dead last in the NBA with a 7-24 record. 

“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.”

The Timberwolves note that the 51-year-old Finch has personally worked with NBA stars like Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden, Nikola Jokić, Zion Williamson and Kyle Lowry, among others. He has over 24 years coaching experience between the NBA and the G-League. 

Watch the full introductory press conference below:

Multiple sources, including ESPN's NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, had reported that Finch would get the job. Rosas and Finch have ties that go back to when the two worked together with the Houston Rockets' G-League team a number of years ago. 

Saunders was relieved of his duties Sunday night immediately following the Wolves latest loss.

“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 in a release. “These are difficult decisions to make, however this change is in the best interest of the organization’s short and long-term goals.”

Saunders has been with the Timberwolves since 2014 where he started as an assistant under his father, Flip Saunders. Ryan Saunders was then named the interim head coach after coach Tom Thibodeau was fired midway through the 2018-19 season. The interim label was then removed prior to the 2019-2020 season.

In a somewhat fitting twist, Saunders coached his final game for the Wolves against Tom Thibodeau, the man he replaced midway through the 2018-19 season when Thibodeau himself was fired. It was a popular choice, as Ryan's dad Flip Saunders starred at the U of M and was the most successful coach in Timberwolves history until his untimely death from cancer in 2015, at the age of 60.

The Timberwolves are 7-24 this season, dead last in the NBA. Roasas says the team will announce more details Monday about who will take over the Wolves' coaching duties.