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While no Timberwolves players met with the media on Monday, President Gersson Rosas and new coach Chris Finch had a joint Zoom conference, and Finch said he spoke to Karl-Anthony Towns on Sunday night and pledged to make him the centerpiece of the offense.

That will be a vital relationship because Towns is the franchise's best player, and a player of his caliber requesting a trade could hit the reset button on the organization. His thoughts matter, perhaps more than anyone else's, on the subject.

When Towns met with the media after the Timberwolves' loss to the Knicks on Sunday night, it was just before the organization announced the firing of Ryan Saunders.

Towns hasn't played in many games this season, which also means he hasn't met with the media often. There have been few chances to ask Towns to expand on his long-term feelings about where the Timberwolves organization is headed.

Before the Saunders news broke, Towns reaffirmed his commitment to the franchise and said he liked its trajectory despite the dismal record.

"If you want to build a legacy we got to win," Towns said. "And I want to build my legacy here so I want to win with the Wolves, and I'm going to do everything I possibly can to keep step-by-step, brick-by-brick, building something and a culture here that's going to stand here for a long time."

The question now is how does he feel that Saunders, someone with whom Towns is close, is gone.

Towns said Sunday that despite all the losing this season, the team hasn't pulled apart.

"I think what's most important to say is this team is connected, this team is together," Towns said. "Even through all the ups and downs we've been through, the one thing I can say about these guys in the locker room is their character speaks volumes. We've continuously stayed together, trusted in each other."

Nick knows

Not surprisingly, Nick Nurse thinks Finch is going to do a fine job.

Nurse is coach of the Toronto Raptors. Until this weekend Finch was his assistant. But the two go way back. They coached against each other in the British Basketball League. Finch was the head coach and Nurse an assistant on Great Britain's Olympic men's basketball team in 2012. They went head-to-head in the Development League.

"He's really a good coach,'' Nurse told reporters Monday. "He's really at a high level. Not just offensively. I mean, really, offensively, for sure. But not just offense. He gets his teams to play hard. They really come after you, both sides of the ball.

"He's a student of the game, so he's well-prepared.''

While it will be a challenge for anyone to turn around a team at the bottom of the Western Conference at 7-24, Nurse — whose team split two games with the Wolves last week — said he likes Finch's chances.

"There is some good talent in Minnesota,'' he said. "That's part of why he was excited to take that job. They're young, obviously, the youngest team in the league. But there is some skill and athleticism, and size and some depth, too."