MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday finalized the hiring of Toronto assistant Chris Finch as their new head coach, hours after firing Ryan Saunders with the team carrying the NBA's worst record.
President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas made the change on the bench to Finch, 51, who was in his first season with the Raptors. Rosas and Finch worked together in Houston, where Finch was an assistant (2011-16) and Rosas was a basketball operations executive.
“He is one of the most creative basketball minds in the NBA, has success maximizing players, and I am excited to see him bring our team to the next level and beyond,” Rosas said in a statement distributed by the Timberwolves.
Finch has 24 years of coaching experience, roughly half of that in Europe. The two-time NCAA Division III All-American at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania played for the Sheffield Sharks in the British Basketball League and later coached the same team from 1997-2003. Finch also coached Britain's national team in the 2012 Olympics.
Ganassi fined, suspended 1 race
Chip Ganassi was fined $30,000 and suspended one race for bringing a guest into the NASCAR pit area at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR said the team owner violated its COVID-19 guidelines by bringing a nonessential individual into the restricted competition area. Ganassi cannot return to competition areas Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR expanded its bubble beginning with the Daytona 500 to permit team owners into the garage; they were not considered essential personnel last season and had to watch races from a suite on the other side of the track.
Tatis' deal with Padres official
Fernando Tatis Jr.'s $340 million, 14-year contract was completed Monday by the San Diego Padres, the longest deal in baseball history. Tatis, 22, a former Fort Wayne TinCaps infielder, had been eligible for salary arbitration after this season and for free agency after the 2024 season.
Memphis returns to practice
The University of Memphis's men's basketball team has resumed practice after a 10-day pause due to positive coronavirus tests within the program. The Tigers (12-6, 8-3 American Athletic) have not played since Feb. 6 and had four games postponed after that. The team resumed practice Saturday in accordance with the league's medical advisory group after COVID-19 test results were negative. Memphis is scheduled to host Tulane University (9-9, 4-9) on Wednesday.
Bellmont golfer Major Spiegel will sign with Indiana Tech today. Spiegel is a two-time All-NE8 golfer and has won the Fort Wayne Junior Tour points championship twice.
Kentucky father sues association
A Kentucky parent has filed a lawsuit against the Kentucky High School Athletic Association over a policy on when student-athletes can return to competition after they have tested positive for COVID-19. Jon Kelly Johnson, a dentist from Mount Sterling, filed the lawsuit Friday in Montgomery Circuit Court saying the policy has the potential to negatively affect his 16-year-old son's prospects for college scholarships if he contracts the novel coronavirus, news outlets reported. Johnson's attorney, Trip Redford, is asking a judge to grant a temporary injunction that would prevent the athletic association from enforcing the policy, which calls for athletes who test positive to isolate and then gradually increase physical activity while being watched for symptoms. The injunction also recommends that an evaluation by a doctor. Student athletes could be out of competition for up to 21 days.
Blackhawks give injury updates
The Chicago Blackhawks welcomed back top defenseman Connor Murphy from a right hip injury but the team will lose Lucas Carlsson for 10 to 14 days with a strained groin. Forward Dylan Strome was also a scratch from practice in Columbus, Ohio, and has been placed in concussion protocol.