Terry Stotts, the former coach of the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks, has been hired as the new head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, the team and general manager Neil Olshey have announced.
It’s a nice hiring. Not thrilling, but nice. He’ll do a solid job. His most recent gig was as an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks, and he got a ring out of that.
“Terry is one of the elite offensive minds in the NBA, has extensive experience with multiple organizations and was instrumental in the Dallas Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA Championship,” Olshey said in a released statement. “He understands the vision for the future of the franchise, appreciates the process involved and will create an environment on the court that will produce championship habits.”
Stotts beat out Kaleb Canales, who took over as the Blazers interim coach when they fired Nate McMillan last season. That would be Nate McMillan Team USA assistant coach they didn’t need any more.
Stotts’ overall record as a head coach is 115-168, but frankly that’s more an incitement of the talent he was given to work with than his coaching. Stotts can coach — and by all accounts is a good, honest guy — but to me he kind of fits into my category of most NBA coaches: They are smart and can get their teams to perform up to a fairly high percentage of the talent they are given. (There are only a handful of genuinely exceptional coaches that improve a team just by walking in the door.)
Which is to say the future of the Blazers is more about Olshey and his moves that Stotts. But it will be interesting to see what he brings to an offense with LaMarcus Aldridge, rookie Damian Lillard and some other genuine but young talent on it.
Steve Clifford and Elston Turner, you are excused.
The drawn out Portland Trail Blazers coaching search is down to two men — former Hawks head coach Terry Stotts and recent Blazers coach Kalab Canales. That according to Jason Quick at the Oregonian.
Canales and Stotts will interview with Blazers owner Paul Allen once he returns from the Olympics in London.
Now, if one were cynical, one would note that both coaching finalists are clients of agent Warren LeGarie, same as GM Neil Olshey. But I’m sure that was a coincidence. That kind of favoritism would never otherwise happen in the NBA. Never.
Whoever takes over gets to coach an interesting rebuilding project in a bike-friendly, microbrew-loving town.
And the Portland coaching search that has made as much sense as gymnastics judging is moving forward again.
Portland enters the second round of interviews for its next coach this week, reports Chris Haynes at CSNNW.com.
The Portland Trail Blazers began round two by interviewing Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts this morning and former Orlando Magic assistant Steve Clifford this afternoon for three and a half hours, CSNNW.com has learned.
Phoenix Suns assistant Elston Turner will be interviewed tomorrow morning followed by Trail Blazers interim head coach Kaleb Canales.
New GM Neil Olshey heads up this second round of interviews. He is expected to select two and those guys will have another round of interviews with team owner Paul Allen. Once he gets back from the Olympics.
There could be a good coach in this group. Stotts is a Mavericks assistant and a former head coach in Atlanta. Turner is a former NBA player who has spent 16 years as an NBA assistant. Clifford is a long-time assistant who has worked under both Van Gundys. Canales was the interim coach with Portland last season who did a good job in the head man role. All may well make a good head coach.
But none are going to blow Blazers’ fans doors off.
Neil Olshey came in to his first press conference as Trail Blazers general manager and said all the things Blazers fans wanted and you’d expect — we’re trying to re-tool not rebuild, we are in this to win for the long term, etc.
But there was one interesting thing — it sounds like interim coach Kaleb Canales will get to keep his job full time. Here is what he said, via the fantastic BlazersEdge.com.
“He’s the in-house favorite… At the end of the day, I don’t see anyone bringing more to the table than Kaleb Canales but we’re going to undergo a process to figure that out.”
“I don’t think there’s any deadline for when we need to have someone in place [as head coach].”
It should be noted Canales and Olshey have the same agent.
Things can change when a new GM comes in, but he seems to have a direction here.