The Trail Blazers and representatives for Terry Stotts will explore the idea of a contract extension that carries beyond next season, sources tell Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com. That’s no surprise, given the job performance of the coach who guided the team to a higher finish in the Western Conference standings this season than last year despite the loss of four starters. The Blazers beat an injured Clippers squad in the first round before falling to the Warriors in a five-game conference semifinals series that ended Wednesday night. Stotts, who finished a close second behind Steve Kerr in Coach of the Year voting, has a team option for next season on his contract that the Blazers have yet to pick up.
GM Neil Olshey remained steadfast throughout the season that negotiations wouldn’t take place until the team was done playing, though agent Warren LeGarie, who represents both Stotts and Olshey, recently told Kerry Eggers of The Portland Tribune that he’s “probably going to take a bit of a stand” on Stotts’ behalf as pushes to secure a long-term deal. LeGarie, in that same interview, said other teams would have interest in working with the coach if the Blazers don’t, a not-so-subtle jab that appeared to be designed to spur the Blazers to the negotiating table. Still, little chance seemingly exists of Portland letting Stotts get away, and Olshey praised Stotts on multiple occasions this year.
The players have also credited Stotts, including Damian Lillard, who said before the season and after signing a five-year extension in July that he wants Stotts in Portland as long as he is. The coach, who joined the Blazers during the same offseason in 2012 that Lillard did, is 182-146 in the regular season and 11-16 in the playoffs for Portland. He has a 297-314 regular season record overall and is 12-20 all-time in the postseason, encompassing his previous jobs as head coach of the Hawks and Bucks.