State Of The Trailblazers: Weekly Notebook | Coach Search March 21st

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No offense to Kaleb Canales, the video intern turned head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, but when news that the pink slip had been handed to Nate McMillan, one would have thought that the team may have had something…anything, in mind rather than what seemed at the time to be similar to that of throwing a dart and running with the person it landed on.

Hell, for all we know, the hot dog vendor in the Rose Garden concourse may have been the unlucky candidate to take over this sinking ship.

With twenty three games left at the time of the trade day implosion, it didn’t make a lot of sense for a team in search of an identity to get rid of two of  the three pieces that fans have been attached to (Gerald Wallace had quickly become a huge fan favorite last season).

With a couple years of assistant coaching at the high school level and then a stint at Texas Arlington under his belt, Canales only other experience on the bench has been as part of Mac 10’s crew.

While he might not have the resume that others have, Canales does have the work ethic and drive to get to the top.

Ex Blazers’ star, Brandon Roy, stated in an interview, “My rookie year I caught him sleeping on the couch, I was like, ‘You didn’t go home last night?’ And he’s like, ‘Naw.’ So he’s definitely like the hardest working dude.”

With that being said, the chances that Portland enters next season with a new, more experienced bench boss are pretty high.

Kaleb Canales

Even if Canales produces a winning record in the final month of the season will he be back?

Even if Canales produces a winning record in the final month of the season, odds are high that one of these five coaches could end up calling the shots in Rip City next year.

*not in any order of preference*

1) Mike D’Antoni

Bringing seven seconds or less to the Rose Garden would definitely bring the fun back into the game for the fans, even if it doesn’t involve a defensive aspect.

Looking at the Blazers lineup, it resembles Phoenix more so than NYC and without a Carmelo Anthony, maybe the run and gun show could be successful in Oregon.

2) Jerry Sloan

Like Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, and similar to how McMillan ran the Blazers, Sloan runs a no BS program when coaching his teams.

Jerry deserves another chance to coach in the NBA and the Blazers have the pieces and personal that fit the type of system that brought the Utah Jazz success during Sloan’s tenure, even if it was short of a championship.

3) Brian Shaw

The LA Lakers missed the boat when they hired Mike Brown over B-Shaw following Phil Jackson’s retirement.

Currently with the Indiana Pacers, Shaw has put in the time and work to be given a shot at running a club full time.  Respected by many around the league, both as a player and as a coach, Shaw could take the pieces of knowledge he picked up from the Zen Master and implement them in Portland.

If Kobe Bryant gives his seal of approval, shouldn’t Paul Allen?

4) Jeff Van Gundy

JVG has made a nice career on the mic since his last coaching gig in 2007 for the Houston Rockets, and while his humor will be missed, brother Stan shouldn’t be the only Van Gundy walking the sidelines.

The basketball world needs more JVG!

5) Kalab Canales

OK, so I lied a bit…..hey, if Erik Spolstra can make the move from video guy to head coach of the Miami Heat, why can’t Canales?

Give the guy a chance at a legit roster, a full training camp and a legitimate schedule before you kick the kid to the curb!

If BRoy and LaMarcus Aldridge can vouch for Kalab, then maybe he is the right man for the job.

To be fair to any coach that the Blazers hire on full time, the team needs to get all of its ducks in a row first (ahaha, get it ducks, oregon….portl…see, the Blazers need some JVG humor, otherwise you get stuck with this!).

With questions arising this week about Paul Allen’s ownership commitment, an acting GM, an interim coach, and unknown status of players returning next season (Jamal Crawford, Ray Felton) stability is a priority before the Blazers will find any success.


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About Steve Lee

Steve is a 12 year writing vet, and writes for a number of sports sites, offering a unique and abstract look at the games we love. He still hopes the Grizz + Sonics return to the Northwest, and has been a Lakers fan since "Showtime".
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