The Minnesota Timberwolves have dismissed head coach Ryan Saunders and hired Raptors assistant Chris Finch as his replacement. Both ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania delivered news on the subject during a flurry of updates Sunday evening.
The Wolves’ decision to hire Finch captured the attention of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Fueled by their close relationship with current Timberwolves and former Trail Blazers assistant coach David Vanterpool, the duo voiced their displeasure with Finch’s promotion.
Shortly after the news surfaced, Lillard posted this message on social media:
How the hell do you not hire David Vanterpool and he’s right there on the bench... and has been in front office SUCCESSFULLY and on the front of a bench of a winning team SUCCESSFULLY (7 years) ... and also has played a major role in the development of a dominant backcourt smdh!— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) February 22, 2021
Following Lillard’s post, McCollum echoed the message.
Make it make sense. Respectfully. https://t.co/4crtNzWV0W— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) February 22, 2021
After a successful stint as both a player and coach with CSKA Moscow, Vanterpool joined the Trail Blazers’ coaching staff in 2012. In the summer of 2019, he departed Portland for a position on Saunders’ staff in Minnesota. During his tenure with the Blazers, Vanterpool played a crucial part in the development of Portland’s current backcourt.
Finch, prior to his time on coach Nick Nurse’s staff, served as the head coach of the Rockets’ G League affiliate during the same timespan that Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas was with Houston. More recently, Finch has worked with DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Zion Williamson and Nikola Jokic during separate stints with the Pelicans and Nuggets.