The National Basketball Coaches Association issued a statement on Wednesday criticizing the Minnesota Timberwolves' hiring process for their head coaching position.
In a statement issued by NBCA president and head coach of the Dallas Mavericks Rick Carlisle and executive director Rick Fogel,l the organization criticized the Wolves for "failing to conduct a thorough and transparent search" that includes minority candidates.
"It's always bittersweet when one coach is fired and another is hired. 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."
The Timberwolves announced the hiring of Chris Finch on Monday, less than 24 hours after the team fired Ryan Saunders. The process came into question when the team rushed to fire Finch, who is white, without interviewing minority candidates.
By hiring Finch, who was an assistant with the Toronto Raptors, the Timberwolves bypassed several minority candidates including Minnesota assistant David Vanterpool, who is Black.
Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, who is Latino, was asked about the hiring process during Finch's introductory press conference and explained that they had considered Vanterpool and fellow assistant Pablo Prigoni for the job, but chose to go with someone outside the organization.
"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...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."
Finch had previously worked with Rosas with the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2010 and had interviewed for the Timberwolves' coaching position in 2019 before they decided to hire Saunders.