Spring cleaning in Portland: Wallace, Camby traded; McMillan fired as head coach
The NBA trade deadline officially passed at 12:30pm on Thursday and as the dust and smoke clears from all the deals around the league, it was no surprise that the Portland Trail Blazers were the most active, and in a big way that I’m sure everyone saw coming.
The first big piece of news was announced this morning when Yahoo! Sports reported that the Blazers were involved with a deal with the New Jersey Nets and agreed to send forward Gerald Wallace in exchange for center Mehmet Okur, forward Shawne Williams and a 2012 first round draft pick. The best part of this trade? The pick, which could land Portland with the 5th or 6th pick. The Blazers receive Okur, a 6’11”, 260 lb forward-center and one time NBA All-Star who is averaging 13.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in his career. Shawne Williams is a 6’9″ small-forward/power forward weighing in at 230 lb and is currently averaging 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds. According to Blazersedge.com, Okur is on a $10.9 million expiring contract. Shawne Williams makes $3 million this season and has a player option for $3.14 million for 2012-2013. The Blazers would take on more than $4 million in salary for this year in this proposal. If this trade goes through as proposed I would expect a second deal that trims salary.
About an hour later, Yahoo! Sports again came out with a report that multiple sources confirmed that Portland traded center Marcus Camby to the Houston Rockets in exchange for center Hasheem Thabeet and guard Jonny Flynn. Again from Blazersedge: Marcus Camby, 37, averaged 3.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game in 22.4 minutes for the Blazers. Thabeet, 25, is a project (bust) who was taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He’s played just 23 minutes this season for Houston. Flynn, 23, was the No. 6 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and has not lived up to that standing yet. He’s played in just 11 games for the Rockets this season. Both players are in the final year of their contracts as team options for 2012-2013 were not picked up…The Blazers shed a little less than $3 million in salary on this year’s books in this scenario.
And just when things couldn’t have gotten crazier, just a few minutes after the deadline passed, Yahoo! Sports broke news that Portland has fired head coach Nate McMillan who has come under fire for quite some time recently on his relationship with the team and making questionable decisions during game situations. Blazersedge: Portland has promoted assistant Kaleb Canales to interim head coach, league source tells Y! Sports. Kaleb Canales, who replaces McMillan, was a video guy in Portland from 2005-2009 before being promoted to assistant coach. He’s 34 now. McMillan, in his seventh year with Portland leaves with a 266-269 (.497) with the Blazers and an overall 478-452 (.514) coaching record. He will surely be picked up soon as he was rumored to be a good fit with the Charlotte Bobcats and Los Angeles Lakers.
We were expected to see either Raymond Felton and/or Jamal Crawford be traded today but it appears they will be Blazers for the rest of the season. Rumors out that although Portland tried their hardest to move Felton (even package him along with Wesley Matthews), no one bit the lure. Crawford was in talks to move to Minnesota as part of a three-team deal with Los Angeles Lakers for Steve Blake.
From the Portland Trail Blazers (2:15pm): The Portland Trail Blazers have made the decision to part ways with Nate McMillan, it was announced today by Team President Larry Miller. McMillan will no longer serve as Portland’s head coach. Assistant Coach Kaleb Canales has been named interim head coach.
“Clearly the season to this point has not gone the way we had hoped it would and after talking with Nate we decided it was best to part ways,” said Miller. “I want to personally acknowledge and thank Nate for his many contributions to this franchise and wish him nothing but the best for the future.”
In six-plus seasons with Portland from 2005-12, McMillan guided the Trail Blazers to a 266-269 (.497) mark. Portland’s second-longest tenured head coach in team history, McMillan ranks third among all-time Trail Blazers head coaches with 266 wins, trailing only Jack Ramsay and Rick Adelman.
McMillan led the Trail Blazers to the postseason in each of the last three seasons (2008-11), marking Portland’s first run of three consecutive playoff appearances since 2000-03. The Trail Blazers shared the Northwest Division crown with Denver in 2008-09 after posting a 54-28 record, McMillan’s best as a coach.
After taking over as Trail Blazers head coach in 2005, McMillan became just the second coach in NBA history to improve a team by nine wins or more in three straight seasons when Portland increased its win total by 33 games between 2005-06 and 2008-09.
McMillan is one of only two Portland coaches to be named Western Conference Coach of the Month three times (Adelman). He earned the honor in December 2007, April 2009 and April 2011.