Chris Finch Rumors

Great Britain have appointed long-time NBA assistant Joe Prunty as their new national team boss. The American takes over from Chris Finch, who ended several years at the helm after the Brits’ Olympic campaign. Prunty will lead the national side at the EuroBasket in Slovenia in September. The team has taken giant strides in recent summers, winning promotion from Division B and climbing to No. 23 in the FIBA Ranking Men. Britain have qualified for the past two EuroBaskets.
News of Prunty’s impending appointment was met with shock by a number of current internationals who had expected someone with prior working knowledge of international basketball to take charge. “I cant believe we are considering an NBA guy with no European experience,” said one member of the 2012 Olympic team, speaking to MVP on condition of anonymity. “I was hoping for a Euro coach that would teach the guys not just compete. That really is disappointing. I thought for sure they would want a fresh start and create a more European-style team.”
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Great Britain’s men are set to find out their new coach next week, with Cleveland Cavaliers assistant Joe Prunty to be named in charge, according to sources in the NBA. MVP has learnt that final contractual arrangements are likely to be signed off following Easter Weekend to name a successor to Chris Finch, following an extensive recruitment process arranged, somewhat controversially, by an external agency.
Ian Whittell: GB coach Chris Finch: “We have an NBA player too. Hes trying 2 get to the bucket, people are holding him, jumping him, riding him 2 the hoop. I don’t think he’s getting the respect he deserves for his All Star level of play. Luols a very nice guy, sometimes too nice. I was happy to see him angry tonight because he needs to be angry. He deserves more respect.”
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The London-born shooting guard – who has just been traded from Detroit Pistons to the Charlotte Bobcats – was due to finally commit to Great Britain in time for London 2012 after a protracted four-year effort to get him on board. But after failing to show at the team’s training camp which closed in Houston on Saturday night, coach Chris Finch has been forced to name a squad without him. GB Basketball performance director Chris Spice said: “We kept the door open as long as we could. “We had been in correspondence with his people, and one day he was in, one day he was out. He felt he couldn’t commit. We are where we are and now we focus on the guys we have here.”
The Detroit Pistons guard is being non-committal about the Olympic squad, citing the need to rest after the NBA season. “We are never in a position to give ultimatums,” Great Britain coach Chris Finch said to the Telegraph. “We are going to give Ben all of next week to let us know what his intentions are and then we will map out whether we go forward with him or without him but there comes a point when we have to move forward and make the best decision for the team.”
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Great Britain coach Chris Finch won’t have Byron Mullens at the London Games and is still waiting to discover if another NBA player, Ben Gordon, will play. Mullens, an American, qualified for and received his British passport earlier this year because his mother hails from England. He has never feature with Britain in an international competition. The same can be said for Gordon, who was born in London but grew up in the United States.
Finch guided the Vipers to the D-League finals in each of his two seasons — winning the championship in 2010 — and so impressed Rockets general manager Daryl Morey that he wanted to add him to Rick Adelman’s staff at the end of last season. When Adelman and the Rockets parted ways, he eventually became a candidate for McHale’s staff. “I liked a lot of the ideas Chris brought to the table and felt comfortable with him right away,” McHale said. “I definitely have my ideas about what I think makes a team success in the NBA. But you want guys with a fresh outlook, guys who can adapt. And I’ll tell you, nobody has to adapt more than those coaches in the D-League.”
The original plan was for Chris Finch to see the world as a member of the Washington Generals. So maybe it’s fitting that a winding path as a globetrotter brought him to the NBA. Rather than a career of buckets of confetti, uniform pants pulled down, yo-yo basketballs on rubber band strings and various other pranks, Finch went the, uh, conventional route of playing overseas, then coaching four different teams in three different countries and spending two seasons in the NBA Development League before landing a spot on Kevin McHale’s Rockets staff. “But it’s been fun, both a basketball and cultural experience that I never thought about when I left college and wanted to be a coach,” said Finch, 41. “I guess I took the long road.”
The Rockets made Kevin McHale’s coaching staff selections official on Friday, with Kelvin Sampson named his lead assistant. J.B. Bickerstaff was hired as an assistant coach with Rockets director of player development Brett Gunning promoted to an assistant coach position. Chris Finch had been promoted from the head coaching position with the Rockets NBA Development League team and worked with the Rockets prior to the draft and with players following the draft. Sampson had been an assistant with the Bucks for three seasons and Bickerstaff had been an assistant with the Timberwolves for four seasons, including during McHale’s second stint as Timberwolves coach. “I’m thrilled to have these men on my coaching staff,” McHale said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have a very qualified and well-respected group of coaches on staff who will be committed to winning and helping our players reach their full potential.
The Houston Rockets have officially announced the additions of four assistants to Kevin McHale’s staff, including former college coach Kelvin Sampson. McHale was hired June 1 to replace Rick Adelman. J.B. Bickerstaff, Chris Finch and Brett Gunning will join the staff, along with Sampson, who will serve as McHale’s lead assistant. Sampson has worked as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks for the past three seasons. Bickerstaff, the son of former NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, has been an assistant in Minnesota since 2007.
Rockets coach Kevin McHale filled out much of his coaching staff on Tuesday, reaching agreement in principle with Bucks assistant coach Kelvin Sampson to be lead assistant and with J.B. Bickerstaff to join Chris Finch as assistant coaches, a person with knowledge of the decision said on Tuesday. Sampson, the former Oklahoma and Indiana coach who was one of the first coaches interviewed for the Rockets’ head coaching position, was expected to be a considered for the head coaching job with the Pistons and Bucks. Sampson declined to comment on the decision or his interest in the assistant coaching position on Tuesday, but he did say he learned a great deal about the Rockets’ organization in his 14-hour interview for the head coaching position, comparing it to taking the ACT and SAT back-to-back.
Sampson declined to comment on the decision or his interest in the assistant coaching position on Tuesday, but he did say he learned a great deal about the Rockets’ organization in his 14-hour interview for the head coaching position, comparing it to taking the ACT and SAT back-to-back. “When you go through something like that, you learn a lot about the organization and about yourself too,” Sampson said. “It was good. It was an interesting process. Those guys have a very good idea what they’re looking for. A huge part of being head coach in NBA is being prepared. Part of the process is preparation.”
Rockets coach Kevin McHale filled out much of his coaching staff on Tuesday, reaching agreement in principle with Bucks assistant coach Kelvin Sampson to be lead assistant and with J.B. Bickerstaff to join Chris Finch as assistant coaches, a person with knowledge of the decision said on Tuesday. Sampson, the former Oklahoma and Indiana coach who was one of the first coaches interviewed for the Rockets’ head coaching position, was expected to be a considered for the head coaching job with the Pistons and Bucks.
McHale may very well be the Rockets’ bridge to the next era. The team hired former Rio Grande Valley Vipers coach Chris Finch as an assistant on McHale’s staff and there is speculation that Finch will be groomed as McHale’s successor and the eventual long-term coach. If Finch is, indeed, the coach-in-waiting, McHale is fine with it. “I like Chris from the time I’ve spent with him,” McHale said. “I’ve gotta do my job. I’m not worried about anybody else’s job. I better be worried about my job and doing the best job I can.”
The Rockets placed the completion of Kevin McHale’s coaching staff on hold until next month, but do have one assistant in place. Chris Finch, who coached the team’s NBA Development League affiliate, as expected has been elevated to a Rockets assistant coach, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said on Friday. Finch helped with the workouts of draft prospects, attended the press conference introducing the Rockets’ four new players and a workout of the players late Friday. The Rockets had wanted Rick Adelman to add Finch to his staff during the talks that led to Adelman’s departure as Rockets coach.
New Houston coach Kevin McHale is looking for a No. 1 assistant and the Rockets are ready to offer $1.2 million over three years. But at least one candidate was scared off when he correctly deduced that a member of McHale’s staff, Chris Finch, is GM Daryl Morey’s golden boy. They’re already talking about Finch, promoted recently from coaching in the D-League, as McHale’s eventual successor. McHale’s biggest task at the outset: Bringing law and order to a disharmonious locker room.
Another element of the Rockets’ job will be the prospective coach’s willingness to include the Rockets D-League affiliate’s coach as an assistant. Rockets management is enamored with Rio Grande’s Chris Finch, and some see him as a future head coach in the NBA. Finch had left a more lucrative coaching career in Great Britain to take a paycut in the D-League. In his first season, Rio Grande won the D-League championship.
Though Adelman and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey came together on several issues, Morey wanted Adelman to mentor a successor that Morey and Rockets owner Leslie Alexander would have chosen and put on Adelman’s staff. Adelman was unwilling to make the changes necessary to his staff, arguing in favor of assistants. Adelman, 64, has long touted lead assistant Elston Turner as ready to lead a team, but the Rockets were not willing to designate Turner as Adelman’s successor, leading to Turner’s decision to turn down an offer to interview for the head coaching position. There were discussions about adding Rio Grande Valley Vipers coach Chris Finch to the Rockets staff, according to both persons familiar with the talks, but it is unclear if Finch would have been designated as the head coach in waiting.
The insistence on putting a successor on Adelman’s staff would not be a part of the current coaching search because the Rockets are not expected to choose a coach late in his career. They could, however, seek to place Finch or another coach with a player development background on a new coach’s staff. Finch is not expected to be a candidate for the head coaching position with the Rockets apparently seeking a coach with experience as an NBA head or assistant coach. The Rockets interviewed Mike Woodson, Mario Elie, Kelvin Sampson and Sikma last week and are expected to meet with Sam Cassell and Kevin McHale this week. They have also shown interest in Dallas’ Dwane Casey, New Orleans’ Michael Malone, Boston’s Lawrence Frank, Los Angeles’ Brian Shaw and San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer, though Budenholzer said he was not looking to leave San Antonio.
Q: The host nation hasn’t been excluded from the basketball tournament since the sport was introduced at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Don’t they ultimately have to let Great Britain in if the 2012 Games are in London? A: I never took that for granted. FIBA has been very clear that it’s their tournament and they will make the decision as they see fit. I think, in the Olympic spirit, to exclude the host would be sad, but I really think they’re going to put us in because of what we’ve been able to do [qualifying twice under Finch for the Eurobasket competition] since we kind of started this process in 2006.
Q: On Sunday, you guys find out if FIBA is allowing Great Britain to fill one of the 12 automatic spots in the Olympic basketball tournament in 2012. How nervous are you? Chris Finch: I’m pretty optimistic. From a basketball performance point of view, we’ve met a lot of the objectives that they laid out. Their biggest concern has always been the basketball administration side. And like most political change or bureaucratic change, that takes a little bit more time to get everything organized [moving from separate basketball federations in England, Scotland and Wales to one governing body that oversees basketball throughout Great Britain]. But overall, I feel pretty hopeful.