Minnesota Timberwolves fire Ryan Saunders, reportedly to hire Raptors’ assistant

By Field Level Media
Feb 5, 2021; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders yells to his team on a play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves fired head coach Ryan Saunders after Sunday night’s 103-99 road loss to the New York Knicks.

It was the club’s eighth loss in nine games and dropped the team’s record to an NBA-worst 7-24.

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Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch is in line to be announced as the team’s new coach, according to multiple reports. The Timberwolves said they will make an announcement regarding a new coach on Monday.

Saunders had a 43-94 record in parts of three seasons as head coach.

“We would like to thank Ryan for his time and commitment to the Timberwolves organization and wish him the best in the future,” Minnesota president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said in a statement. “These are difficult decisions to make, however this change is in the best interest of the organization’s short and long-term goals.”

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The Athletic reported that Finch will receive a multiyear deal to be Minnesota’s coach. The 51-year-old Finch is in his first season with the Raptors and has previously been an assistant with the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans.

Sunday was just the 11th time that two-time All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns played for the Timberwolves this season. Towns missed six games with a dislocated wrist and 13 due to a bout with the coronavirus.

Minnesota also has D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards on the roster. Edwards was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Saunders is the son of the late Flip Saunders, the former coach and executive for the Timberwolves.

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Minnesota visits the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media