Blazers Assistant Coach Kaleb Canales Leaves Blazers For Mavericks

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Longtime Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Kaleb Canales will leave the organization to join the Dallas Mavericks.

Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports on Twitter that longtime Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Kaleb Canales will leave the organization to join the Dallas Mavericks.

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Kaleb Canales is leaving the Trail Blazers to take an assistant coaching position with the Dallas Mavericks

Before Canales' decision, Stotts said he was going to eliminate "coordinator" positions on his staff and make it a collaborative effort.

Terry Stotts said he hopes to have a new assistant hired by Summer League in July. He said hire won't necessarily be defensive-specific. Blazers assistants David Vanterpool and Dale Osbourne will head the Summer League team, Stotts said.

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Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com has confirmed the report on Twitter and posted a statement from Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, which noted that Jim O'Brien was retiring as the Mavericks' offensive coordinator.

"Jim said he loved working in the Mavs organization, but being away from family made his decision easy," Carlisle said via email. "I consider Jim O'Brien a great basketball man of high integrity and thank him for everything he taught me, my staff and our players this past season. We are fortunate that Kaleb Canales became available and had interest in joining the Mavs organization."

Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com has posted a statement from Canales and more from Carlisle.

Canales: "Very grateful to Paul Allen and Bert Kolde for the opportunity to work with a first class organization for the past nine seasons. At this time, I am excited to have the opportunity to join the Dallas Mavericks.I treasure the relationships I built with the players, staff and fans here in Portland and also want to thank Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts for the opportunity to remain with the club this past season. Thank you Rip City!"

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Carlisle: "Kaleb has worked for the Portland Trailblazers organization in multiple capacities for the last 9 years, and brings great knowledge, enthusiasm and work ethic to the Mavs. He will join Monte Mathis and Tony Brown on the bench and take over in Coach O'Brien's capacity of coordinating our offense."

Quick's full story is here.

"The [defensive] numbers did not bare out positively, but in the context of our team's youth, a new system and working for a new coach, I thought he did a very good job,'' Stotts said.

On Friday, Stotts gave an interview to Travis Demers and Josh Wilcox on 1080 AM The Fan. Audio here.

Here's what he had to say about Canales.

He really helped bridge the transition for me because of his relationships with, in particular, LaMarcus [Aldridge], Nic [Batum] and Wes [Matthews]. He has great relationships with the players, he gets them to work hard. For me and the staff, everybody else was new to the organization. He was a very good bridge in building the relationships between me and the players and the other assistant coaches and the players.

I thought he did a very good job. Our defensive numbers weren't very good but I think that's typical of a young team, as you see throughout the league last season, most of the young teams suffered defensively. He was very committed to his job. He was good for us to have.

I'm happy for him. He's going to a great organization. I was there for four years and won a championship. Rick Carlisle is an excellent coach and he'll learn a lot from him. I really think it's a win for Kaleb, a win for Dallas and I appreciated the time he spent here with me.

Canales, 34, stepped in as interim coach in March 2012 after former coach Nate McMillan was fired. He posted an 8-15 record down the stretch and was considered one of two finalists for the full-time job, with Blazers coach Terry Stotts ultimately beating him out. Known for his upbeat attitude, intense work ethic and kind heart, Canales was originally hired by the Blazers as a video intern in 2004.

Stotts told reporters in August 2012 that Canales would serve as "defensive coordinator" this season. The Blazers finished tied for 26th in defensive efficiency and Stotts said in an interview recently that the Blazers "maybe need to rethink our defensive philosophy" heading into next season.

Last August, David Aldridge of NBA.com reported that the Mavericks wanted to replace Stotts, who served as an assistant coach under Carlisle, with Canales. Canales is a native of Laredo, TX.

The Blazers also reportedly lost Idaho Stampede assistant coach Barry Rohrssen to the University of Pittsburgh this week.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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