Karl-Anthony Towns happy with new Timberwolves coach, but …

Franchise centerpiece Karl-Anthony Towns made a few things clear Tuesday morning after Timberwolves shoot around.

He’s committed long-term to winning with the Wolves and is “extremely happy” to be playing under new coach Chris Finch.

He also said he would like to see more Black and minority coaches get opportunities to be head coaches in the NBA, specifically Wolves associate head coach David Vanterpool, whom President Gersson Rosas passed over as a potential interim or replacement for Ryan Saunders to hire Finch.

“We’re gonna for sure support Coach Finch and everything he stands for and try to be the best players we can be for him,” Towns said.

“But I think at the same time … I want to take the time to recognize the amazing work these assistant coaches have done, especially David Vanterpool. Men of color deserve to have a chance to get their opportunity to be a head coach in this league and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing work he’s done and what he’s meant to this organization.”

Rosas has said repeatedly Towns is the focal point of the organization moving forward, and in his comments addressing the coaching situation Tuesday, Towns never criticized Rosas or the team for the fast process played out.

Rosas has come under scrutiny for the speed of the process, which did not seem to include any interviewees who were Black or minority candidates, though Rosas said assistants on the staff were considered. Regarding his feelings on the search process, Towns said he had to have a “professional” mind-set about all of it.

“It’s just a business,” Towns said. “I’m extremely happy to call Coach Finch my coach. I’m extremely accepting of him. I’ve been excited all day to finally get to hear what he wants to say and try to learn the little offensive schemes he’s putting in and defensive stuff. But you know, it’s a business.”

At the same time, Towns said understood some of the reaction he saw in NBA circles, like from Portland’s Damian Lillard, saying the Wolves weren’t fair to Vanterpool and other Black or minority candidates.

“There’s a lot of amazing men of color out there that deserve the opportunity to lead a team and to run an organization and have a chance to make their mark in this league, not with a jersey on but with a suit on, and I say that with meaning … ” Towns said. “As a man who looks like me, I can’t wait to see [Vanterpool] get a job where he can flourish, be a head coach and run a team, and we’re so honored and blessed to have him here on this coaching staff.”

Towns also said Saunders will still be a “friend for life” even as their working relationship ends.

“The one thing that I always can say about Ryan is he always put his all not only into the game of basketball as a coach, but as a man and trying to be a leader for us and lead us to be better men and even more righteous men,” Towns said. “He challenged me as a man. He challenged me in my faith. He challenged me as a player. He’s a tremendous leader and he’s a tremendous friend.”

Even with the Wolves firing a friend of Towns’, and passing on someone in Vanterpool he would like to see get a head coaching job, Towns said his commitment to winning with the Wolves remained firm.

Shortly before Towns found out about the change Sunday night, he met with the media following the Wolves’ loss to the Knicks and said he was committed “brick-by-brick” to winning in Minnesota.

His feelings haven’t changed since.

“My stance on the situation, on what I said the other night, doesn’t change at all,” Towns said. “I’ve said it before that I think one of my biggest weaknesses for me is loyalty. I’m a very loyal guy, to a fault. I’ve said it before, I would love to finish my career here in Minnesota. … I want to build something great here. I want to build a legacy in Minnesota.”

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