HOURS after the team with the NBA’s worst record this season lost for the eighth time in the last nine games, the Minnesota Timberwolves fired coach Ryan Saunders on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

A person with knowledge of the situation said the Timberwolves were finalizing plans to introduce Toronto assistant Chris Finch as the new coach on Monday. The person spoke to the Associated Press (AP) on condition of anonymity because Finch’s hiring has not been formally completed.

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Minnesota Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders gestures to players during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone

ESPN first reported Saunders’ dismissal, and The Athletic first reported Finch’s looming hiring.

Saunders was with the Timberwolves for parts of three seasons, going 43-94. Minnesota has the league’s worst record this season at 7-24 and is already 7-1/2 games out of what would be the final play-in spot for the Western Conference postseason.

“We would like to thank Ryan for his time and commitment to the Timberwolves organization and wish him the best in the future,” Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said.

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