Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch signs four-year extension after conference finals run, per report

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After leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 56-win season and a berth in the Wester Conference finals, coach Chris Finch is being rewarded with a four-year contract extension that will run through 2028, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Terms of the deal have not been reported. 

The 56 wins rank as the second-best regular-season mark in franchise history, trailing only the 2003-04 Wolves that won 58 games and also made the conference finals. The Timberwolves have never made the NBA Finals. They obviously believe Finch is the man to get them there. 

Since Finch was hired in 2020-21, which was the first head coaching job of his NBA career, the Wolves have ranked in the top 10 league wide in net rating, defensive rating, and most importantly, wins. Last season, Minnesota put one of the best defenses we’ve ever seen on the floor. 

Give GM Tim Connelly a lot of credit for that. He made the Rudy Gobert trade, which anchored that top-flight defense and particularly prepared the Wolves, with a huge set of three big men, to face Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, who they wound up eliminating in the second round. Brining in Mike Conley was perfect for this team. Any coach would love to have Minnesota’s perimeter defenders, and would likely look very good coaching them. 

But Finch deserves a lot of credit, too. Things didn’t go as planned in Gobert’s first season, and there has been a lot of turmoil around the franchise’s ownership situation. The team has never look affected on the court, and Anthony Edwards has blossomed into a superstar as Finch has turned the offense over to him while getting Karl-Anthony Towns to buy into a secondary role. 

So this is the way things go in the NBA. As soon as the 2021 Atlanta Hawks made the conference finals, they turned around that summer and signed Nate McMillan to a four-year contract. The Hawks failed to make it past the first round over the next three seasons. 

There’s more reason for optimism in Minnesota because of Edwards and the defense, which is something Atlanta could never hang its hat on. But he Western Conference is also a bloodbath. We’ll see if this year’s success continues now that the Wolves and Finch are carrying the weight of expectations and a new four-year contract. 

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