MILWAUKEE – Chris Finch stepped in as the new Timberwolves coach on Monday, saying he wanted to "breathe some confidence into the roster."
Finch, an assistant with Toronto, replaced Ryan Saunders, who was fired Sunday night.
Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said the decision to move on from Saunders was made Sunday afternoon, and he was allowed to coach a final game against the Knicks in New York because game operations were underway.
"We've got the worst record in the NBA," Rosas said on a Zoom call. "We're struggling on both sides of the ball. We needed to be boldly direct with this opportunity."
The Raptors gave Rosas permission to talk to Finch on Sunday, and the deal came together quickly.
"It's a young roster at the right time, and we can establish an identity," said Finch, 51. "It's a hard league to win in, but we're not a million miles away."
Rosas said Finch was the runner-up two years ago when Saunders was named the full-time coach. The team president was criticized in some circles Monday for not hiring a minority candidate, particularly top Saunders assistant David Vanterpool.
"Anyone who knows me knows how important diversity is to me," Rosas said. "Being in a pandemic, being in this situation, it really changes things. A lot of what this process was about was our original search when we hired Ryan. There were minority candidates we considered at this time."
Rosas said the assistant coaches would remain with the team.
Finch said Timberwolves standout Karl Anthony Towns "should be the center of everything." The two spoke Sunday night.