In contrast to all the coaching turnover the NBA has seen recently (almost half the league has changed coaches since the start of the 2015-16 season), the Portland Trail Blazers have recognized a good thing while they have it. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports that the Blazers have agreed to a three-year extension with Terry Stotts that will take him through the 2019-20 season:
Stotts was hired in 2012, making him the fifth-longest tenured coach in the NBA, behind Gregg Popovich (San Antonio), Erik Spoelstra (Miami), Rick Carlisle (Dallas) and Dwane Casey (Toronto). Stotts finished second in Coach of the Year voting this season after taking a Blazers team that lost four starters over the summer to the playoffs, winning a first-round series against the Clippers.
Not only did Stotts do an excellent job this year, he clearly has the buy-in of the locker room in Portland. Damian Lillard was outspoken last week at exit interviews in his support of a potential extension for Stotts (via The Oregonian):
“He’s a really good coach,” point guard Damian Lillard asserts. “As long as I’m a part of this organization, I want him to be a part of this organization. He deserves it.
“He’s a great overall person and a great coach. I’m happy to be his point guard and he’s more than deserving of an extension.”
There was no way this deal wasn’t going to get done. It was just a matter of when, not if. The Blazers are headed in the right direction with a promising young core and tons of cap space. Locking up a quality coach for the long term only adds to their bright future.