Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum question Timberwolves’ choice of coach

By Field Level Media
Dec 21, 2019; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) dunks the ball past Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during the second half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

NBA players typically don’t comment on social media about hirings and firings in opposing organizations. Enter Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers.

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The two guards took to Twitter late Sunday to share their disbelief that the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t promote David Vanterpool to head coach after firing Ryan Saunders. Vanterpool is in his second season as Minnesota’s associate head coach after spending seven seasons on the Blazers’ bench.

Instead, the Timberwolves on Monday morning made the hiring of Toronto Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch official.

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“How the hell do you not hire David Vanterpool and he’s right there on the bench… and has been in front office SUCCESSFULLY and on the front of a bench of a winning team SUCCESSFULLY (7 years) … and also has played a major role in the development of a dominant backcourt smdh!,” Lillard wrote.

McCollum agreed.

“Make it make sense,” McCollum responded to Lillard. “Respectfully.”

This will be the first NBA head-coaching job for Finch, 51, who has coached for nearly 25 years in the NBA and G League. He was in his first season with Toronto following stops with the New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets.

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Lillard said he wasn’t questioning Finch’s credentials, rather promoting a coach he knows is ready to lead his own team.

“I don’t know him to have nothin against him. Congrats to him… but I’m sorry Vanterpool is a coach that I know for sure is needed in these locker rooms. I speak the real …not favorites… respectfully,” he wrote.

The Timberwolves are 7-24 and in last place in the NBA’s Western Conference. Saunders, 34, had a 43-94 record in two-plus seasons as Minnesota’s head coach.

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–Field Level Media