Raptors Announce Coaching Staff Changes

by Soheil Jamshidi

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that Chris Finch and Jama Mahlalela (Jah-MAH MAH-la-lay-lah) have been added to Head Coach Nick Nurse’s staff as assistant coaches. In a corresponding move, Patrick Mutumbo will take over as head coach of Raptors 905, replacing Mahlalela. Joining Mutombo in Mississauga from the Raptors staff will also be Brittni Donaldson and John Bennett. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. 

Finch spent the past three years in New Orleans (2017-20), including last season as Associate Head Coach. He has also served as an assistant coach with Denver (2016-17) and Houston (2011-16). Prior to joining the Rockets, Finch had two successful seasons (2009-11) as head coach with Houston’s G League affiliate the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He guided the team to consecutive appearances in the G League Finals and amassed a record of 67-33 (.670). The Vipers captured the 2010 G League Championship and for his efforts Finch was awarded the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year Award.

Raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Finch played professionally overseas with the Sheffield Sharks (1993-1997) in the British Basketball League (BBL) before beginning his coaching career with the same team. Under his leadership (1997-2003), the Sharks enjoyed the franchise’s most successful run in team history and Finch was named the BBL Coach of the Year in 1998-99. He coached for 12 seasons in Europe with additional stints in Germany (2003-04) and Belgium (2004-09).

On the international stage, Finch took over a dormant Great Britain National Team in 2006 and captured FIBA’s 2007 Division B Promotional Competition. In 2009, his squad qualified for the European Championships for the first time since 1981 and qualified again in 2011. Finch also led the British National Team in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London where Nurse was one of his assistants. 

Finch graduated in 1992 as a two-time All-American from Franklin & Marshall College, and was inducted into the F&M Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.

Mahlalela was an assistant coach with the Raptors for five seasons (2014-18) prior to becoming the head coach for Raptors 905 where he accumulated a record of 51-42 (.548) in two seasons. Mahlalela joined the Raptors front office as director of player development, where he served for two seasons before moving to the bench. 

A native of Mbabane, Swaziland, Mahlalela grew up in the Greater Toronto Area. He played collegiately at the University of British Columbia and was as assistant coach at the University of Toronto for four seasons.

Mahlalela started with the Raptors organization on the community development staff in 2006, leading the Raptors Basketball Academy and various clinics throughout Canada. He was named director of basketball operations for NBA Asia in 2009 and oversaw the League’s clinics, youth programs and elite-level development from his base in Hong Kong.

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