In the first bit of Wolves' “offseason” news, Woj reports a change in Chris Finch’s coaching staff. Albeit unsurprising given the circumstances, both David Vanterpool and Bryan Gates will not return next season. This shouldn’t come as a shock given Finch was hired on the fly in a rare midseason move that plucked him off the Raptors staff to replace Ryan Saunders. He ran with the group he was given.
Minnesota’s Associate HC David Vanterpool and assistant Bryan Gates won’t be returning to new coach Chris Finch’s staff next season, sources tell ESPN. Finch was hired mid-season to replace Ryan Saunders, who had hired Vanterpool and Gates.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 18, 2021
When news broke of the initial coaching shift from Saunders to Finch, an immediate question arose: Why didn’t Vanterpool get the first crack at the interim job? It seemed likely until that point if Saunders was going to get the axe, the job was Vanterpool’s to lose. He was, after all, the highly regarded Associate Head Coach waiting in the wings. But POBO Gersson Rosas had his eyes on Finch dating back to his first coaching search in Minnesota and plenty have wondered if that was the plan all along. It certainly seems like the savvy move to land Finch before anyone else given the improvement the Wolves displayed.
Where does that leave the rest of the staff like assistant coach Pablo Prigioni in all of this? Whatever that answer might be, Finch was always going to get the chance to build his own staff and he deserves that chance—this his team to coach now. He may now look towards pursuing a defensive-minded coach to oversee the NBA’s 28th rated defensive group that allowed 115.0 points per 100 possessions.
For Vanterpool, his presence didn’t draw as much positive publicity as Ricky’s Rubio’s did when it came to being the steward of Anthony Edwards’ rapid development throughout the year. But DV was also often praised by Ant for his guidance and deserves credit for the major strides made by the Wolves’ prized pick over his rookie season.
This gives Vanterpool another chance to chase a leading role this summer and there will be plenty of suitors. If the Blazers, for example, decide to move on from Terry Stotts after the playoffs, one has to believe he’s the frontrunner to reunite with his former team. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have openly endorsed Vanterpool as a deserving head coach over the past couple of years. Maybe Dame and CJ have already tweeted it into existence!
Make it make sense. Respectfully. https://t.co/4crtNzWV0W— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) February 22, 2021
As for Gates, he’s been around the league long enough and is well thought of. He should land somewhere fairly easy if he wants to stick around. This is the first move in what should be a busy summer of change under the new owners, former MLB star Alex Rodriguez and tech entrepreneur Marc Lore.
Are there any coaches Finch should target for his top sideline sidekick? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.