NBA coaches association critical of Timberwolves’ hiring of Finch

Chris Hine, Star Tribune
·2 min read

The National Basketball Coaches Association released a statement today about the Timberwolves' head coaching change, criticizing the team for "failing to conduct a thorough and transparent search" that would have included diverse candidates.

The Wolves hired Chris Finch, a Toronto assistant coach, on Monday after firing coach Ryan Saunders on Sunday night. Both men are white.

The NBCA statement, authored by president Rick Carlisle, head coach of the Mavericks, and executive director David Fogel:

It's always bittersweet when one coach is fired and another is hired. But this is not about individual coaches. We would be remiss not to acknowledge a deeper concern and level of disappointment with the Minnesota head coach hiring process.

The NBCA understands and respects each organization's right to hire and fire whomever and whenever it chooses. But it is also our responsibility to point out when an organization fails to conduct a thorough and transparent search of candidates from a wide range of diverse backgrounds.

During this past off-season, we saw many NBA head coaching vacancies where teams led searches that were both diverse and transparent. This must be the standard. We must establish a level playing field and equal access to opportunity for all coaching candidates.

The NBCA has been working closely with the League Office on a wide range of initiatives that will improve future coaching searches. In partnership with the NBA, we look forward to sharing details in the weeks to come.

In a press conference on Monday, Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas was asked about the hiring, which also bypassed top Wolves assistant coach David Vanterpool, who is Black.

"Anybody that knows me knows how important diversity is to me and it's a big part of who I am and what I'm about," Rosas said. "Our staff and the diversity we have speaks for itself.

"Because of the platform we're at, a lot of what this process and this search was about was going back to our original search when we hired Ryan [in 2019 3/8. Chris was a finalist there. There were other candidates, minority candidates we considered at this time. Unfortunately when you're in the middle of a season, you're really at the mercy of teams in terms of who can become available and who's not available. That was a challenge for us as we went through the process.

"In terms of not only David Vanterpool but Pablo Progioni and other assistants on our staff, we looked at those as internal options as well, but at the end of the day, where we're at, We have to be realistic with ourselves. We've got the worst record in the NBA."

Rosas, who is Latino, has a front office that includes three minority executives. There are three Black assistant coaches who are now on Finch's staff.