Dane Moore: Ricky Rubio on the firing of Ryan Saunders: “A lot of emotions. Our record is what it is. Of course the timing was a little weird… We have attachments and emotions to everything. But we have to move on… I’m going to miss Ryan.”
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Like so many things in this woebegone franchise’s lackluster history, Ryan Saunders’ fairy tale turn as Timberwolves head coach proved to be exactly that. Saunders had known for several weeks that he was in trouble as the losses mounted, sources told The Athletic. Players openly wondered about Saunders’ job security and it only seemed to be a question of whether he would make it to the end of the season or not. The answer came not long after a 103-99 loss to the Knicks in New York on Sunday night in a meeting with Wolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas.
In the wake of considerable fan criticism of Saunders, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor had resisted calls to fire the coach while star Karl-Anthony Towns was out of the lineup with COVID-19. Taylor felt that Saunders deserved a chance to coach a team built almost entirely around Towns’ versatility before making such a big decision, sources said. But the Wolves were 1-7 since Towns returned Feb. 10, prompting Taylor to sign off on the move.
Shams Charania: The Minnesota Timberwolves are hiring Toronto Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch as the new head coach on multiyear contract, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Timberwolves asked permission to the Raptors on assistant coach Chris Finch and are proceeding on hiring him as head coach to replace Ryan Saunders, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Hiring a coach off another staff during the season is uncommon, but Toronto wouldn’t stand in the way of Finch’s chance to become a head coach now. Finch had success as a G-League head coach, and has interviewed for several head coaching jobs in recent years.
“We would like to thank Ryan for his time and commitment to the Timberwolves organization and wish him the best in the future,” said Rosas. “These are difficult decisions to make, however this change is in the best interest of the organization’s short and long-term goals.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Minnesota Timberwolves have dismissed coach Ryan Saunders, sources tell ESPN.
Jon Krawczynski: The Timberwolves have fired Ryan Saunders, source tell @TheAthleticMIN
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Timberwolves won’t immediately name an interim coach tonight, sources said. Minnesota has dropped 24 of 31 games to start the season, leaving them with the worst record in the NBA.
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February 24, 2021 | 9:06 pm EST Update
Harrison Faigen: Frank Vogel says he hasn’t looked at the second-half schedule in depth yet, but says he isn’t too worried about the difficulty of it. “I know every team in the league is playing 72 games.” (depending on cancellations, this may not be true)
Jovan Buha: I asked Frank Vogel pregame if the Lakers are looking at a specific position or player archetype with their two empty roster spots. His answer: “We’re just looking at what players are available. I’m not gonna discuss any types of needs that we’re discussing internally.”