Northwest Notes: Stotts, Monroe, Waiters, Mitchell

The future of Terry Stotts is unresolved beyond this season, as the Trail Blazers have yet to pick up the team option on his deal for 2016/17, but Blazers players, including Damian Lillard, are fully supportive of the coach, as The Oregonian’s Jason Quick details.

“As long as I am here,” Lillard said, “I would like him to be here.”

Lillard signed a five-year extension this summer that will run through 2020/21, and the Blazers are making him the centerpiece of their retool, but time will tell if Portland retains Stotts as one of its building blocks. See more on the Blazers amid the latest from around the Northwest Division:

  • Greg Monroe narrowed his choices to the Bucks and Trail Blazers before selecting Milwaukee in free agency this summer, according to Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports, who recounts Monroe’s decision making that led up to his three-year max deal with the Bucks. That means he first eliminated the Knicks and Lakers, who, as Lee notes, also met with him.
  • The Thunder aren’t worried about making too many commitments to middling talents that would be tough to build around if Kevin Durant bolts next summer, and instead they’re focused on building a stable supporting cast around Durant for the long term, writes Royce Young of That, plus Oklahoma City’s penchant for rewarding players who want to stick around, helps explain the team’s reported willingness to explore an extension for Dion Waiters, as Young examines.
  • Sam Mitchell didn’t feel a burning desire to coach again when Flip Saunders called to offer him a job with the Timberwolves last year, Mitchell tells Sportsnet’s Michael Grange. Saunders nonetheless made a convincing case, and Mitchell joined as an assistant, which led to his promotion to interim head coach when cancer treatment forced Saunders to take a leave of absence. “He thought I did a good job in the media — I thought I did an excellent job — but he said to me ‘you’re always going to be a basketball coach,’” Mitchell said of his conversation with Saunders.
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