A few days after firing Minnesota Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders and replacing him with Chris Finch, Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is being criticized for the quick decision he made to hire Saunders’ successor.
Minnesota’s Star-Tribune called it “seemingly one of the fastest coaching searches in recent NBA history.”
Rosas, who is originally from Bogotá, Colombia, and is the first Latino in his position in the history of the NBA, is said to have skipped over the part of the hiring process that would have given him the opportunity to interview and vet any minority candidates.
Currently, there are only four Black head coaches in the NBA and one Latino head coach, Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego.
Dominican American Wolves’ star Karl-Anthony Towns spoke out about the decision not hiring a person of color to lead his team for the second half of the season.
“I’d be remiss if I didn’t come on here and mention the amazing work that men of color are doing in this world,” Towns told ESPN. “There’s a lot of amazing men of color out there that deserve the opportunity to lead a team and to run an organization and have a chance to make their mark in this league not with a jersey on but with a suit on. And, I say that with meaning.”
The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) released a statement Wednesday (Feb. 24) saying the Wolves failed to search for a new coach in a transparent way that would have offered the opportunity to consider candidates with “diverse backgrounds.”
NBA star Damian Lillard also wondered why the Wolves’ own Black assistant coach wasn’t given the chance to take over the team after Saunders was released, especially since Finch has never been a head coach in the NBA.
Rosas pushed back on the idea that he didn’t look at minority coaches or his internal options.
“At the end of the day … we have to be realistic with ourselves,” Rosas says. “We’ve got the worst record in the NBA. We’re struggling on both sides of the ball, and we really lacked the confidence. We can get the real change we needed by making the decision we made.”