Sources told ESPN that the Minnesota Timberwolves will finalize a multi-year contract on Monday to make Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch the team’s new coach.
Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas fired Ryan Saunders on Sunday, which cleared the way for Minnesota to avoid interim coaches and quickly sought to hire a full-time substitute.
Rosas informed Sanders of this decision after the New York Knicks lost 103-99 to the Timberwolves. The Timberwolves left the Timberwolves 7-24, which is the worst record in the league.
Rosas continued to have Sanders as his head coach after being hired in May 2019. This process included interviewing Vinci for the job. Rosas and Finch have a long history in the organization of the Houston Rockets.
The source said that Fincher is expected to start the work in Milwaukee on Tuesday, and Sanders’ coaching staff will be in place, including deputy head coach David Vanterpool and assistants Brian Gates and Pablo Pu Riggioni.
Vinci has worked as an assistant coach in Houston, Denver, New Orleans and Toronto, and won the G League championship in 2010 in the Rio Grande Valley. During the offseason, Toronto hired Vinci as a senior assistant to Nick Nurse, but it will not prevent him from accepting the job as head coach this season.
Since Memphis hired Lionel Hollins from Milwaukee in 2009, no assistant coach has been promoted to head coach of the new team this season.
According to sources, Rosas does not want to spend the entire season as a temporary coach, hoping to maximize the development of all-star centers Karl-Anthony Towns, Malik Beasley, top-ranked Anthony Edwards and Angie Luo’s veteran core Russell (knee surgery).
Sanders became the coach of the Timberwolves with a 43-94 score in the two seasons with the Timberwolves. Since the franchise was traded for Russell in February 2019, he can only coach his two All-Star players, Towns and Russell, in five games.
Minnesota has suffered severely from COVID-19 this season due to injuries. Russell has played 20 games recently and recently received surgery on his left knee, which will put him on the edge for the next four to six weeks. Between a wrist injury and contraction of COVID-19, Towns only played 11 games this season.