The Minnesota Timberwolves have fired head coach Ryan Saunders according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Saunders is being fired after an abysmal 7-24 start to the season giving the Wolves the worst record in the NBA. The Wolves will not be having an interim head coach and have hired Chris Finch who comes from the Toronto Raptors organization as an assistant coach. According to Wojnarowski, Timberwolves President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas did not want to have an interim coach around the core the Wolves have developed in Karl-Anthony Towns, Malik Beasley, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell.
Saunders, 34, garnered the coaching position in 2019 after being the interim head coach, replacing the fired Tom Thibodeau. Saunders had been in the organization previously for work as a player development coach and later an assistant coach, forging great reputations with his players. Saunders is the son of the late Flip Saunders who coached for the Wolves from 1995-2005, and again from 2014-15. Questions were had if Ryan Saunders had the tools to be a head coach or if he was simply picked due to his popularity with the players on the team. Saunders was 43-94 in his tenure with the team.
Saunders had been informed of his decision to be let go after a 103 - 99 loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday. New Coaching hire Chris Finch has been with multiple teams as an assistant coach including the Houston Rockets; wherein 2010 he won a G-League title with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the subsidiary team of the Rockets, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Toronto Raptors. Finch was hired this off-sea by Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse. Finch was eventually promoted to the top assistant on the staff. The only other time in history as an assistant coach moved up to a head coaching role with a new team was in 2009 when the Memphis Grizzlies hired Lionel Hollins from the Milwaukee Bucks.