Timberwolves immediately replace head coach Ryan Saunders with Chris Finch

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves have fired head coach Ryan Saunders and immediately found his replacement.

It was only a matter of time before a drastic change was needed, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have officially seen enough.

After Sunday’s loss to the New York Knicks, the Wolves made the decision to fire head coach Ryan Saunders, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Then they made the executive decision to immediately hire hire replacement.

The latest loss dropped Minnesota to 7-24 to start the 2020-21 campaign, all but ruling this miserable franchise out of the Western Conference playoff race before the calendar even flips to March. But firing and hiring a head coach in a span of a couple of hours is quite a drastic move.

The Timberwolves did what they had to with Ryan Saunders

Wojnarowski reported the team would not immediately name an interim, but that didn’t last long; according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Wolves are hiring Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch to replace him as the full-time head coach on a multiyear contract.

This begs the question: How long ago were these wheels set in motion? Did the Wolves interview Finch while Saunders was still on the hot seat? Finch and Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas worked together while on the Houston Rockets, but this is highly irregular.

It’s hard to blame Saunders too much for the team’s failings when his best player, Karl-Anthony Towns, was sidelined for 20 of Minnesota’s 31 games to start the season. But it was becoming clear the young head coach was in over his head, and as KAT grows more and more restless with all the losing, the Wolves didn’t have time to wait around for Saunders to figure it out.

This roster is flawed, injury-prone and very young, but the potential of players like guys like Anthony Edwards, Jarrett Culver and Josh Okogie just hasn’t translated into NBA-ready players, which is what Minnesota needs in order to keep KAT happy in the frozen tundra.

The D’Angelo Russell pickup hasn’t turned the Timberwolves into a playoff-caliber team, and even Ricky Rubio’s happy homecoming is being soured by this awful 7-24 start, which is the worst record in the association.

In any case, the Wolves will be hoping they’ve found someone who will not only keep Towns happy but is actually good at his job too. After all, this organization knows all too well what happens when a disgruntled face of the franchise spends too many years languishing away on losing teams.

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