David Vanterpool
(Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)

The Timberwolves just fired their head coach Ryan Saunders last night, who had been there since 2019. Yes, the T-Wolves are 7-24, 43-94 under Saunders all-time, and literally the worst team in the NBA. But it is extremely unusual for a team to let go of a head coach nearly halfway through the season. What’s even crazier is that the Timberwolves appointed their next coach almost instantly after firing Saunders. Minnesota will reportedly be hiring former Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch for the job instead of the assistant coach on the T-Wolves’ bench, David Vanterpool.

Shady Business

It is also worth noting that Finch was an assistant for the Houston Rockets from 2011-2016, and the president of basketball operations at the time in Houston was Gersson Rosas. Guess who’s coincidentally running things in Minnesota right now? Gersson Rosas. 

Okay, so the T-Wolves go and hire a guy that is close with their president of basketball operations, so what? Well for one, whenever there is an untimely firing within an organization, often times the organization will promote someone from within to an interim spot until the next coach is found. But in this case, it appears Minnesota already decided on Finch, despite having an overqualified assistant coach on their own bench already.

Damian Lillard Rants On Twitter

David Vanterpool, who has been the associate head coach in Minnesota since 2019, was overlooked for the head coach job, and Damian Lillard chimed in on Twitter last night, going on a multiple-tweet rant after the decision was made.

“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!”

via Twitter @Dame_Lillard 11:19 PM ET · Feb 21, 2021

Lillard was furious at the decision (rightfully so), along with his teammate, CJ McCollum who also spoke up on Twitter. The two Portland superstars both spent a great deal of time with Vanterpool during his tenure with the team as an assistant, so it makes sense they would be outraged. Not to mention, Lillard is a top 10 player, so his words should not be taken lightly.

Why Was Vanterpool Snubbed?

Vanterpool helped build one of the most dominant and consistent backcourts with Lillard and McCollum in Portland from 2012-2019. He also even interviewed for the Rockets’ head coach job back in October of 2020, again endorsed by Lillard, yet he ultimately fell short in that endeavor.

If the Timberwolves were looking for a head coach with a winning pedigree, why not choose Vanterpool, who is on the bench right in front of them? He has tangible experience with young players and a history of great development with those same young stars. This is just one of many examples that highlight the dysfunction of the entire organization in Minnesota.

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