PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers hired former OU player Terry Stotts as head coach on Tuesday, filling the NBA's last coaching vacancy.
Stotts had a 115-168 record as coach of the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks before spending the past four seasons as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. He inherits a team that fell drastically short of expectations last season and heads into the new campaign with a roster that includes forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and a lot of question marks.
Stotts, 54, replaces Kaleb Canales, who went 8-15 in an interim role after Nate McMillan was fired.
Stotts and Canales emerged as the finalists for the permanent job, and the men reportedly interviewed with owner Paul Allen over the weekend at the London Olympics. Canales has been in the Trail Blazers organization since 2005. It is unclear if he will remain with the club.
“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,” general manager Neil Olshey said. “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.”
While the team may develop championship habits, it appears to be several seasons away from contending for championship banners.
The roster as constructed is interesting, yet unproven. Aldridge and Batum are set at forward, but incumbent shooting guard Wesley Matthews is coming off a so-so season in which he shot 41 percent from the field and the Trail Blazers thus far don't have a true center for the opening tip on Halloween night.