We'll have to wait until July for most of this summer's player movement, but a handful of coaches are already on the move. Here's the latest on a pair of head coaching searches and a Trail Blazers assistant heading south:
Earlier today, the Trail Blazers held a press conference to introduce newly-minted head coach Terry Stotts to the public. The latest out of Portland..
8:07pm: Neil Olshey announced that Kaleb Canales will remain on the team as an assistant coach, according to a tweet by Quick.
6:01pm: Jason Quick of The Oregonian tweets that the Trail Blazers have hired Terry Stotts as their new head coach. Stotts had been an assistant on the Mavericks' coaching staff since 2008 after holding head coaching positions with the Bucks from 2005 to 2007 and the Hawks from 2002 to 2004. His best season to date occurred during 2005-06, when he led Milwaukee to 40 wins and the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Overall, Stott's record as a head coach stands at 115 wins and 168 losses.
Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge.com relayed an official statement released by GM Neil Olshey (Sulia link):
“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...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."
Golliver also noted a statement from Stotts (Sulia link):
"I’m very pleased to be a part of a great franchise in a beautiful city with such a proud history. I look forward to working hard with Neil and our players toward the ultimate goal of bringing another championship to Portland.”
Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports that Kaleb Canales, the other finalist for the Portland's coaching search, will be retained by the franchise in some capacity (Twitter link). Canales had served as the team's interim head coach last season and was reportedly well-liked by members of the organization.
2:50pm: According to Jason Quick of the Oregonian, Allen's interviews with Stotts and Canales in London have already been completed (Twitter link).
2:29pm: The final two candidates for the Trail Blazers head coach job, Mavericks assistant Terry Stotts and Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales, are traveling to London this weekend to meet with team owner Paul Allen, says Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. According to Haynes, the London meetings will represent the final phase of the interview process, with a decision on the new Portland coach expected shortly thereafter.
Stotts and Canales were joined by Suns assistant Elston Turner and Magic assistant Steve Clifford as finalists for the Blazers job, but Turner and Clifford were informed earlier this week that they were no longer in the running, says Haynes.
Canales' stint as Nate McMillan's replacement in 2011/12 was his first NBA head coaching gig. Stotts, meanwhile, coached the Hawks from 2002 to 2004, and the Bucks from '05 to '07.
AUGUST 1, 7:29pm: The field of finalists has been trimmed to two, with Steve Clifford and Elston Turner out of the running, Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports. That leaves Terry Stotts and Kaleb Canales as the two remaining candidates.
JULY 26, 12:25pm: The second round of interviews will include owner Paul Allen and will begin on Tuesday, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Haynes also hasn't heard anything about a fifth candidate being in the mix.
JULY 25, 5:34pm: There could be a fifth "mystery" candidate involved, according to Jason Quick of The Oregonian. While his identity is unknown, the fifth candidate is not represented by Warren LeGarie, the agent for GM Neil Olshey, or Steve Kauffman, another prominent agent in coaching circles. If the Blazers go with the fifth candidate, it would be late in the process, Quick hears, so it appears he's regarded as a fallback option (All Twitter links).
3:14pm: The final four candidates for the Blazers' opening are Terry Stotts, Elston Turner, Steve Clifford, and Kaleb Canales, reports Jason Quick of the Oregonian (via Twitter). The team will conduct a second round of interviews next week with the remaining contenders, according to Quick (Twitter link).
3:07pm: After an offseason in which he interviewed for a number of head coach positions, Brian Shaw will be returning to Indiana as an assistant. According to Jason Quick of the Oregonian (via Twitter), Shaw and Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey spoke today and decided that the Portland coaching job wasn't a fit for the Pacers assistant, who also interviewed with the Magic and Bobcats.
As for the Blazers, even with Shaw out of the running, there are still plenty of candidates for the club's head coach position. Quick confirms that the team has interviewed at least the following candidates so far: Warriors assistant Michael Malone, Mavericks assistant Terry Stotts; Grizzlies assistant David Joerger; former Magic assistant Steve Clifford, Suns assistant Elston Turner, Hawks assistant Lester Conner; Heat assistant David Fizdale, Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin, and former Knicks and Suns assistant Phil Weber.
Fizdale has withdrawn from consideration, while Clifford is nearing a deal to join the Bulls as an assistant, says Quick.
It was a busy day for the Blazers, who officially welcomed Nicolas Batum back after matching his offer sheet from the Timberwolves. They also were involved in a three-team trade, picking up Sasha Pavlovic, the cash to cover his salary, and two second-round picks in exchange for 2011 second-round pick Jon Diebler. There's also encouraging news from LaMarcus Aldridge, who says he's "98 percent" healed from hip surgery and expects to be playing five-on-five again in a week, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. There's plenty more going on in the Rose City, and we've got it here:
The next few weeks figure to be eventful for the Warriors, who have four picks in this year's draft and should be active in exploring deals. Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle writes in his latest piece that Golden State may face some trade competition from the Raptors, who pick one spot after the Warriors in the draft and are seeking the same thing in a potential trade -- an athletic veteran small forward. Here are a few more notes from Simmons' article for the Chronicle....
An unsettled situation in Portland appears to be gaining stability as the Trail Blazers named former Clippers general manager Neil Olshey to the same post in the City of Roses. The next major decision becomes finding a permanent head coach for a team that went 28-38 and finished eight games behind the Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. John Canzano of the Oregonian has the latest news and headlines on the Trail Blazers after attending Tuesday's news conference introducing Olshey...
Neil Olshey was introduced as the new Blazers GM today and spoke to the press for over 30 minutes (video via CSN Northwest). Olshey will be very busy very quickly with the NBA Draft approaching, free agency looming in July and of course, the Blazers' coaching vacancy. Last week the Clippers announced that they had agreed to retain Olshey as their general manager but after Portland kept pushing, the two sides parted ways and Olshey agreed to terms with the Blazers.
The most surprising part of Olshey's press conference was that he essentially endorsed interim head coach Kaleb Canales, according to Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest. Haynes notes that Olshey and Canales share the same agent - Warren LeGarie. Canales said that he doesn't think it is crucial to hire a coach before the draft, which is what he will currently concentrating on. But he gushed over Canales to the point that it seems like he will be the guy in Portland:
"If you're asking me to handicap it, I'll say he's the in-hour favorite right now. But at the end of the day, I don't see anyone bringing more to the table than Kaleb Canales. But we're going to follow a process to see how it works out," Olshey said.
As for the actual roster, Olshey says he wants to build up the Blazers to compete over a long time period with LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum as the cornerstones. Olshey compared the duo to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in Los Angeles and expressed confidence that the team is not far from being a contender:
"I don't think rebuild is the wrong word. I think re-tool. I think the organization is in a great position. I think we can accelerate our curve back to where we want to go. We're not looking for quick fixes. We're not looking for aging veterans that can slide us into the eighth spot."
His stance on aging veterans would probably make Steve Nash an unlikely sign for Portland, which is a popular rumor of late. John Canzano of the Oregonian also offers his take on the new general manager, saying he came away impressed but thinks they could aim higher in terms of a coach.
The Trail Blazers' search for a general manager became more difficult this week as we reported on Friday that Clippers GM Neil Olshey was being retained by Los Angeles. With the draft drawing closer and the team still without a permanent head coach, the Trail Blazers are expected to make a decision on both positions in the coming weeks. CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes has the latest news and rumors from Portland that sheds light on the future of the front office and sideline...