Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 7/18/12
Who’s It Going to Be?

The Trail Blazers team is finally coming together.

The draft is over, and by the end of today we’ll know if Nicolas Batum is the starting small forward or not.

All that’s left is that little thing of finding a head coach.

It’s been four months since Nate McMillan was fired, and the team has yet to find a new head coach. Interim coach Caleb Kanales is with the team in Las Vegas coaching them through the summer league.

The job search has been a star studded affair. Some pretty big names in coaching have come out, which would be huge for Portland.

They haven’t had a high profile coach in quite some time.

Here’s a rundown of what we know—and don’t know—in the Portland coaching search.

What We Know: The Big Names are Coming Out

The stars are coming out and they want to coach Portland.

Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson are two very storied coaches and both have been considered for the job. Portland seems less interested in Stan Van Gundy—though he doesn’t have quite the resume as the other two.

Though Sloan is a confirmed no, and Jackson is probably a no, it’s nice to see high profile coaches interested in Portland.

Jerry Sloan and Phil Jackson are two very storied coaches

Jerry Sloan was Made an Offer

We know that Jerry Sloan was made an offer by the Trail Blazers. Unfortunately for Portland fans, he deemed it not a good fit and turned the job down.

Still, it shows that Sloan was Portland’s first choice and they’re not being shy about going after their man.

Portland Isn’t Looking for a Stopgap

Going into interviews there were two strategies for Portland. One: go after a veteran coach who can make you championship worthy at the cost of growth. Two: go after a stop gap who will play the young guys and get the team ready for the future.

You’re not going to pay Jerry Sloan to play rookies and get your team prepped for future success. It seems a rightful conclusion that Portland is not looking for a stopgap, but their coach of the future.

What we Don’t Know: Does Kaleb Canales Have a Job?

Kaleb Canales did a great job as interim coach last season. He played the young guys, got great production for guys like Babbit and Hickson and did his best to step into a sticky situation.

The question now: after this summer will he have a job?

Canales is currently with the team in Las Vegas coaching the Summer League. At this point it would be a shame for Portland to not reward his dedication to the team.

Even if they hire a new coach, I hope they keep Canales on the staff.

What’s Really Going on with Phil Jackson?

Portland might have offered Phil Jackson a deal. Jackson may or may not have turned down that offer. Jackson is interested in a president/part-time coaching role with Brian Shaw.

Neil Olshey might be trying to force Jackson out of the job.

If Not Jackson or Sloan, Than Who?

At this point, it’s impossible to say what’s going on with Phil Jackson and the Portland Trail Blazers. There’s plenty of reports, but many of them are conflicting.

As long as the back-and-forth continues, chances are Jackson does not end up coaching Portland.

If Not Jackson or Sloan, Than Who?

Outside of Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan, there aren’t any other high profile coaches for Portland to go after. There’s always Stan Van Gundy, but Portland’s shown no interest in him—which isn’t a bad thing.

If Portland doesn’t want to go high profile, and they’re not ready to trust Canales, then where do we go from here?


This is a hard situation to predict. It seems everything the media reports Portland reports differently.

I wish it would be Sloan. He’s a Hall of Fame caliber coach with plenty of experience in the division.

If not him than Jackson. He was a Laker, but he’s possibly the best NBA coach of all-time.

Since Sloan’s already turned down the job who knows where things go. There seems far too much disconnect with Phil Jackson, and I don’t think the organization is quite ready to trust Canales with the reigns.

That leaves a possible hire that hasn’t already been mentioned.

I don’t know who it will be, but let’s hope they can handle the job.


© Jonathan Irwin for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: Brian Shaw, J.J. Hickson, Jerry Sloan, Kaleb Canales, Luke Babbit, Nate McMillan, Neil Olshey, Nicolas Batum, PDX basketball headlines, Phil Jackson, Portland Trail Blazers, RIP City basketball, Rip City Hoops News, Stan Van Gundy, Trail Blazes blog, Trailblazers blogs

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